Nearly 50 percent of businesses owe licensing fees

Nearly 50 percent of businesses owe licensing fees
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NASSAU, BAHAMAS — Nearly 50 per cent of businesses have outstanding business licenses, according to the Department of Inland Revenue’s Acting Comptroller Gaynell Rolle.

The department has announced that applications for the Tax Deferral and Tax Exemption program are now available online.

The programme provides large employers with a minimum annual turnover of $3 million to access payroll support to limit the need for further layoffs. These companies must have at least 25 employees.

With this tax relief, businesses will be able withhold VAT due or outstanding business license between April and June to assist in meeting payroll expenses.

The department also advised that that VAT filings remain due on April 21, 2020. It noted that although some businesses do not have access to all their latest records at home, due the COVID-19 related closures, they are able to file VAT returns based on an estimate of turnover for the period and submit amendments later.

While there will be no penalty for businesses who submit amendments for filings during the Emergency Order, the penalties associated with late filings are still in place.

The DIR continues to operate all its core functions online, including processing new business license applications, real property tax filings, business license renewals, and the establishment of payment plans for existing businesses.

There is also a drop off and pick up service in place at the Carmichael Road Office and the Freeport Office of the Prime Minister during regular business hours for individuals submitting documents for VAT stamping and to apply for first home exemptions.

Businesses can use the DIR hotline (242-461-8050) and the taxinquires@bahamas.gov.bs email.

“We want to assist as many businesses as possible and encourage businesses to apply online,” said Rolle.

“Our records show that almost 50 per cent of businesses have outstanding business licences. Not all of these are eligible for the tax credit or deferral; however, we encourage all businesses to reach out either to establish a payment plan, or to apply for the tax relief program (http://atlas.revenue.gov.bs).”

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