Turnquest: Govt. has no intention to change tax system – at this present time

Turnquest: Govt. has no intention to change tax system – at this present time
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance the Hon. Peter Turnquest (FILE PHOTO)

NASSAU, BAHAMAS – Despite suggestions made by the International Monetary Fund Annual report that The Bahamas should implement a more equitable tax, Minister of Finance Peter Turnquest said that the government has no intention to change the tax system.

“The responsibility of the ministry of finance is to look at the horizon to see how global times are changing and what does that mean for our tax base and any options that we may have to address any risk that may rise in the future,” Turnquest said.

“But at this particular time, there is no intention for changes in the tax system.”

While speaking with reporters last week, Turnquest said he understood where the IMF’s suggestion came from, considering the constant and rapid changes in the Global economy.

“Global economy is changing, everything is becoming more digital,” he said.

“We have this new phenomenon about this shared economy with Ubers and Air BNBs and those kinds of platforms [and] even when you talk about software, Microsoft Office or Word, you don’t buy the software anymore; you just use it offline on the cloud or whatever.

“That raises some very tricky issues about taxation.

“How do you tax that?

“Who is due the tax?

“Is it tax here at the user end or at the source end?

“What does that mean to the country’s tax base?”

Minister Turnquest said that these questions provide technical issues when it comes to proper and fair taxation. However, the finance minister said it is a phenomenon that the government is monitoring to ensure that The Bahamas is not left behind.

“There is a lot of technical issues on the horizon,” he said.

“And so we continue to monitor those things and go to the conferences and listen to the world and where they’re going and how they are reacting and proposing to react to these realities, so we can ensure that we are not left behind and have a diminished tax base that we can no longer support with the services that we need to provide to our citizens.”