By Caribbean News Now contributor
CASTRIES, St Lucia -- The VAT Act No.7 of 2012 in St Lucia has been published and is now a public document.
The Act provides for the administration of the collection of the value added tax (VAT) and speaks of a number of areas not limited to:
1. The powers of the Comptroller of Inland Revenue;
2. The oath of secrecy to be undertaken by tax officers not to disclose taxpayer information;
3. Rules relating to transaction for goods and services;
4. Tax period and the filing of returns;
5. The tax rates and calculation of the tax payable;
6. Objection and Appeals;
7. Payment, collection and recovery of the tax;
8. Payment of refunds and interest;
9. Civil and criminal proceedings.
Various salient aspect of the Act have been translated in brochures and leaflets and are available in print from the VAT Office, the General Post Office, Inland Revenue Department, corporate partners such as LUCELEC, Eastern Caribbean Financial Holdings Ltd, Bank of Nova Scotia, and FirstCaribbean International Bank. The documents can also be downloaded from the website of the VAT Project Office.
The Act is available for viewing on the websites of the National Printing Corporation and the VAT Office at:
The Act can also be purchased from the National Printing Corporation at a price of $66.00.
Meanwhile, a collaborative approach between the business sector and the VAT Implementation Project Office is facilitating optimal consumer education as the country prepares for the implementation of the value added tax effective October 1.
In the next two weeks, reinforcement methods will be launched to boost consumers’ knowledge on the full scope of the basket of goods, with the use of visual presentations at everyday points of sale.
The country’s leading supermarket chain, Consolidated Foods Ltd (CFL), as well as GL Foodmarket have responded to a call from the VAT Project Office to dialogue and for best approaches to make relevant and specific information available at points of sale, which consumers will need for their purchasing decisions.
Coming out of these consultations CFL has decided to implement a colour coded sticker system that will tag all goods that have no VAT. CFL will also place posters prominently at their supermarkets with the colour codes fully explained so that customers know to simply look out for the “No VAT on this item” sticker.
Other stores will use NO VAT shelf wobblers for prominent display on shelves carrying zero-rated or exempt items. Efforts are being made to conclude a similar arrangement with other community marts.
In August, the VAT Office expanded its information distribution network with the support of three of the country’s financial institutions, CIBC First Caribbean International Bank, East Caribbean Financial Holdings and the Bank of Nova Scotia. The General Post Office in Castries and LUCELEC also readily undertook to function as outlets for the distribution of educational material placed to facilitate both visibility and easy access by Saint Lucians as they go about everyday life.
“In particular, these institutions have clients and customers themselves, and we are gratified at the level of interest they are showing in ensuring that their own customers are prepared,” said VAT coordinator, Adria Sonson.
The VAT Implementation Project Office has also been meeting directly with businesses and commercially oriented associations to engage both their membership and employees to demystify aspects relevant to VAT and business operations.