ACCC hosts GST Forum at BYC

The Island Newspaper, Ambergris Caye, Belize            Vol. 16, No. 23            June 8, 2006

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Michael Fox dealt with the different points that GST affects.

It was a good turn out as many businesses on the island were interested to know how much the GST would affect them, and owners wanted some questions answered.

Last Thursday, June 1st, the Ambergris Caye Chamber of Commerce hosted a special GST Forum whereby D. Michael Fox, CPA, CFE, FCPA, CBM outlined, in laymanís terms, the new tax, General Sales Tax. Over a hundred attendees packed the Belize Yacht Club Conference Room for the seminar.

    Through this seminar, Fox was able to explain the repercussions of the GST, and pointed out that business owners had to have clear, precise record keeping. One of the main concerns was that Hotels would have to charge GST. This, according to Fox, was not the case, but that it would be a bit more complicated than expected. Simple lodging services would not have to charge GST, but if, and as is the case in San Pedro, the hotel has a dive shop, bar and restaurant, those particulars of the hotel fall under the GST radar, and would have to charge the 10% GST on any additional goods or services it sells to its customers. According to Fox, Real Estate would be impacted as well. During the presentation, several points were discussed, including Zero-rated versus Exempt Status: zero-rated supplies are taxable, and include exported goods and services, and certain unprocessed foods for consumption. If a business were to sell zero-rated supplies, it would still be able to claim GST it had paid on purchases of goods and services.

    Exemption from GST applicability: certain supplies such as accommodation in hotels, inns, boarding and lodging establishments are considered exempt, though they are still required to charge the 9% hotel tax. Residential accommodation (apartment/rental) is also exempt. Sale of residential property (unless new) is considered exempt as well. For more information on the new GST coming into effect on July 1st, 2006, kindly visit their website at Businesses on La Isla Bonita are also being notified that a GST Team will be in San Pedro to conduct advisory sessions and distribute registration certificates and packages. All registered persons who have applied for registration are encouraged to visit the Tax Center during this period. Persons who have not yet applied for registration will be able pick up and complete application forms and participate in these sessions.

    (Special thanks to the ACCC and volunteers who did such a great job in organizing this event.)
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