Bahamian tax laws (Value Added Tax “VAT”, Business Licence, Stamp, Real Property, etc.) all provide appeal mechanisms for when you disagree with an assessment. Each statute provides for the ability to object by giving notice in writing within a specific time period.
As a taxpayer in The Bahamas, do you know what to do if you believe you are
Bahamian tax laws (Value Added Tax “VAT”, Business License, Stamp, Real Property, etc.) all provide appeal mechanisms for when you disagree with an assessment. Each statute provides for the ability to object by giving notice in writing within a specific time period. The current timelines are as follows:
Many governments around the world have developed a form of administrative rights that taxpayers can expect in their dealings with the tax enforcement agency or departments. With the introduction of VAT and the tax reform that has taken place in The Bahamas, the Bahamian government has also developed and published The Bahamas Taxpayer Rights. For the most part, such rights are intended to increase accountability and transparency on the part of the Department of Inland Revenue and ensure greater compliance with tax laws and an excerpt from the Bahamian publication is as follows:
WHAT YOU CAN EXPECT FROM US – YOUR RIGHTS AS A TAXPAYER
You have the right to:
WHAT WE EXPECT FROM YOU – YOUR OBLIGATIONS AS A TAXPAYER
You are required to:
None of the rights outlined in the Taxpayers’ Rights are legally enforceable under the law and are essentially a set of regulatory standards for the government’s dealings with taxpayers.
As the VAT Act becomes more mature, we will inevitably see more situations of tax planning that may be challenged under audit
Therefore, compliant tax planning - arranging one's affairs so as to be as commercially efficient as possible from a tax .perspective, and whether any transaction that is sought to attach a tax or tax consequence that emerges from a series or combination of transactions should be treated impartially and consistently under the Taxpayer Rights
While these rights and obligations are essential to the administration of the tax system, they do not replace the statutory processes that should be followed in the event of a dispute. The Department of Inland Revenue (“DIR”) website provides a number of guides and policy documents for managing your reporting. However, there currently are no formal published policies and procedures for disputing a tax assessment.
Until such formal policies and procedures are issued, the following steps
should be taken in the event of an audit or government inquiry:
At the end of the day, taxpayers that believe they have been wrongly assessed should consult with their professional advisor and follow the statutory rules to file their objection and assert a lawful basis for their dispute. At KPMG we assist our clients in negotiating, managing and resolving disputes with the tax authorities and in preventing tax disputes in the first place.
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The information contained herein is of general nature and is not intended to address the circumstances of any particular individual or entity. Although we endeavour to provide accurate and timely information, there can be no guarantee that such information is accurate as of the date it is received or that it will continue to be accurate in the future. No one should act on such information without appropriate professional advice after a thorough examination of the particular situation.