Today Revenue Fairs were held around the country, and like its name suggests, it is all about making sure that government receives its share of the pie. The first fair, held last year, was the brainchild of the Income Tax Department, but today’s event featured the participation of other departments with one goal – collecting revenue for the government. Duane Moody reports.
Duane Moody, Reporting
The second annual revenue fair was held today at the Charles Bartlett Hyde Building, formerly known as the Complex, on Mahogany Street in Belize City. The fair is to give awareness to the public on taxes and good business practices. On the display were several booths held by both public and private agencies including the City Council and Atlantic and Heritage Banks.
Kent Clare, Commissioner of Income Tax
“The fair will last for two days in terms of the actual events on the ground. Right now you have the main location here at the Charles Bartlett Hyde Building in Belize City, but we have something happening in San Pedro, San Ignacio, Punta Gorda, Orange Walk; actually it is all over towns. It’s catered mostly to the taxpaying public and we make no distinction—from those who are actually paying to those who are potential taxpayers. So you will see that some students are already here. Generally students are big supporters of the fair.”
While the fair was initially an Income Tax Initiative, it has grown to incorporate other departments including Customs and Excise and the General Sales Tax Departments.
“It started off about four years ago as an income tax fair and has now migrated to revenue fair. It is not the income tax fair anymore; it is customs, income tax and GST. And I think this bodes well for the way public service si supposed to work; together and give one common service to the public. We think it is important for them to learn what it is all about—how the budget works. You’d be surprise to know that quite a few people in our society don’t really appreciate how it works. So the fair provides an opportunity for them to understand.”
Cecilia Thompson of the General Sales Tax Department spoke of the message of sensitizing taxpayers and potential taxpayers.
Cecilia Thompson, Taxpayers Supervisor
“The main message that I want to send out there to consumers. GST is a consumer tax and whenever you buy at any store, look out for the green certificate on the wall; that authorizes the business to charge GST. And then following that, you must ask for your tax receipt. That is very important I cannot stress it enough. We are trying to change the culture that every Belizean when they go to the shop ask for their GST receipt. Why? Because when you purchase and they give you the receipt; that sale is round and that money goes where it is supposed to go to the government of Belize so that they can provide services for us the people of Belize.”
The event is two days long and similar events are being held countrywide. Duane Moody for News Five.