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Imposition of Bahamian VAT on US Visitors

Old 07-24-2019, 01:32 PM
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Default Imposition of Bahamian VAT on US Visitors

Payment of the VAT by US visitors is absurd, fundamentally. The whole reason the VAT was forced upon the Bahamas was because the Bahamian Dollar is artificially tied to the USD, even though it clearly does not have the same value, dollar for dollar. The choice, at that time was to de-link the currencies or imposition of a VAT. If the currencies had been de-linked, the Bahamian dollar would have slid into oblivion, much like the Mexican Peso. It would have actually been good for the US, as our dollars would have been more valuable, relatively and there would be no VAT issue.

Therefore, when we go to their country and spend our USD, we are freely giving them the more valuable currency and helping to offset the imbalance of currency that is the underlying cause of the VAT, or so the Bahamian Central Bank would tell you. We get no benefit from doing this. Worse, by imposing the VAT on top of our payment in USD, they are, in effect, double-taxing us. It is a financial slap in the face.

US visitors are fortunate to be able to visit the Bahamas, but have no legal voice in such an issue, but we could certainly express ourselves, economically: A 6-month boycott of Bahamian travel by US vessels would bring the Ministry of Tourism to its knees and force them to deal fairly.

Trust me, they are concerned with potential fallout. That is why they have held off on announcing the fee changes and don't plan to implement the change until year-end when there are far fewer travelers. The debacle created during the last significant fee change--implemented without notice over the 4th of July weekend--is not so distant a memory for them or for us.
Old 07-24-2019, 01:42 PM
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What you are saying makes absolutely no sense. Why in the hell should we not pay the same VAT as the Bahamians? It may be high but as visitors we should not be let off the hook just as visitors to the USA have to pay sales tax on tings they buy. By all means do institute a boycott of the
Bahamas to bring them to their knees so they will do as you wish. What you will get in return when your highness decides to grace their shores again will be facilities in even worse shape and people out of work that will resort to theft to feed their families which will then result in your highness calling it a third world country and swearing you will never go back. Are you seeing the flawed logic in your grand plan?
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Old 07-24-2019, 05:29 PM
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Old 07-24-2019, 06:00 PM
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Illogical, however consider The Bahamas (citizens) spent 2.11Bilion US dollars in Fla in 2010, probably more now.
If Bahamians Boycotted Florida.........
Also Bahamians pay sales tax....(unless purchased commercially and the vendor collects a shipping dock receipt) Most of that $2.11bn is personal shopping.
More is spent commercially in other states.

No, The Bahamas Implemented VAT because The WTO/IMF/OECD/ and others consider import duty a barrier to trade, so VAT is replacing import taxes.
There is also the "tax Haven" thorn in the first world's side creating the increasing pressure to change tax systems.
There are also TIEA agreements already signed with 48 odd other nations. (I tell you what and who of yours owns stuff here, and you tell me about mine.)
While VAT was put in (2015) the Bahamas negotiated a reduction of duty rates over time until 2025 to normalize import rates (8-10%, perhaps as high as 15%)
(Same as the U.S. import duty rates, btw)
They thought a revenue "bubble" would occur.It didn't.
The pressure is on to implement income and capital gains taxes, for which there are arguments for and against.
Without comparable tax structures, tax treaties cannot be had. Reciprocity.
The B$ is artificially held on par with the U.S. Dollar through the use of U.S. currency reserve. (currently over $1bn) I am led to believe there is between 2bn-3bn Bahamian dollars
in circulation in the Bahamas only, obviously.
There is some talk of adopting the U.S. dollar as the Bahamas currency, which could actually happen with the use of Brady Bonds.
Much deeper than most would want to know, probably.
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Old 07-24-2019, 06:40 PM
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I get it that many people do not understand the workings of a Central Bank, so maybe the following will be more succinct:

The choice was de-link from the USD or accept the VAT. Under the first, the Bahamians would have had to shoulder the load, themselves. By accepting the VAT, they have been able to shift a significant portion of that to US and other visitors. Politically, very nice at home. We are paying the VAT simply by spending USD in the Bahamas, by adding the VAT on top of that, we are paying it twice.

Why is that so hard to understand?
Old 07-24-2019, 06:51 PM
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Originally Posted by go2abaco View Post
What you are saying makes absolutely no sense. Why in the hell should we not pay the same VAT as the Bahamians? It may be high but as visitors we should not be let off the hook just as visitors to the USA have to pay sales tax on tings they buy. By all means do institute a boycott of the
Bahamas to bring them to their knees so they will do as you wish. What you will get in return when your highness decides to grace their shores again will be facilities in even worse shape and people out of work that will resort to theft to feed their families which will then result in your highness calling it a third world country and swearing you will never go back. Are you seeing the flawed logic in your grand plan?
Kinda harsh, no?
I'll ignore the insults and incorrect assumptions and simply try to help:
  1. Do you understand that currencies of different countries are not of the same value?
  2. If such currencies are then artificially tied such that they are exchanged at the same value, can you see that a problem would arise?
  3. Do you know any other countries whose currency is tied directly to the USD?
  4. Would you go to Mexico and use USD to pay for things denominated in Pesos, at an even exchange?
If you don't understand, please ask questions. I don't know how to do gel coat work--I ask questions. I didn't know how to build a NMEA2000 network, even though it is actually very easy---so I asked questions.
Old 07-24-2019, 06:53 PM
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The Bahamas is broke. It may never be able to pay off it's debt. Who is going to bail them out??? China, that's who. They already have a huge presence and are clamoring for more. The corruption and ineptness of the past and present governments have crippled the economy.

Will you be be happy when the cruise ships start pulling into Treasure Cay? Will you be happy when the Chinese are allowed to completely rape the fishing grounds of the Bahamas? Will you be happy when the power goes out for days at a time all over the islands?

These are real possibilities as the government looks for ways to bring in revenue.

Be happy that you can vacation in one of the most beautiful boating and fishing destinations in the world, right in our backyard!

It's pricey but that may just help to keep the riff raff that is found on every sandbar and beach bar in South Florida from completely taking over the Bahamas and making the rest of us listen to their million watt stereos at the dock and on the sandbar!

Careful what you wish for my friend.
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Old 07-24-2019, 07:07 PM
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Originally Posted by signmansez View Post
The Bahamas is broke. It may never be able to pay off it's debt. Who is going to bail them out??? China, that's who. They already have a huge presence and are clamoring for more. The corruption and ineptness of the past and present governments have crippled the economy.


Add three zeros and you have the exact same situation in the US.

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Old 07-24-2019, 07:16 PM
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Originally Posted by signmansez View Post
Be happy that you can vacation in one of the most beautiful boating and fishing destinations in the world, right in our backyard!

It's pricey but that may just help to keep the riff raff that is found on every sandbar and beach bar in South Florida from completely taking over the Bahamas and making the rest of us listen to their million watt stereos at the dock and on the sandbar! Careful what you wish for my friend.


I understand that but, in fairness, we need to admit that it's the selfish view. Truly, I do hear you: 2009 was one of the best years to visit the Bahamas: the big recession, here, combined with very high as prices kept many boaters away.
The point of the OP was to make it easier for US folks to visit the Bahamas and to, thereby, support the hotel and marina businesses in the Bahamas--actually help Bahamians by doing so. Don't think for a minute that the VAT is going to improve infrastructure or any Bahamian's life, tangibly.

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Old 07-24-2019, 07:21 PM
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I've said it before, Bahamas Gov't..... "Making The Keys Great Again"!!!!!!!
Old 07-24-2019, 07:54 PM
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Regardless of the reason, the VAT hasn't seemed to hurt business and I doubt the new fees will either minus a few blow boaters. Can you blame them for jacking up prices if we continue to pay it? It's been jam packed this summer from what I've seen in the Abacos, family after family peeling off cash. Having recently paid $120 bucks for 2 cheeseburgers, 2 drinks and a slice of pie on top of $6/gal gas I wondered what my breaking point would be. The tides will turn when the economy goes south and it'll be interesting to see how they react to a slowdown.
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Old 07-24-2019, 08:35 PM
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Originally Posted by Capt Odyssea View Post
Illogical, however consider The Bahamas (citizens) spent 2.11Bilion US dollars in Fla in 2010, probably more now.
If Bahamians Boycotted Florida.........
Also Bahamians pay sales tax....(unless purchased commercially and the vendor collects a shipping dock receipt) Most of that $2.11bn is personal shopping.
More is spent commercially in other states.

No, The Bahamas Implemented VAT because The WTO/IMF/OECD/ and others consider import duty a barrier to trade, so VAT is replacing import taxes.
There is also the "tax Haven" thorn in the first world's side creating the increasing pressure to change tax systems.
There are also TIEA agreements already signed with 48 odd other nations. (I tell you what and who of yours owns stuff here, and you tell me about mine.)
While VAT was put in (2015) the Bahamas negotiated a reduction of duty rates over time until 2025 to normalize import rates (8-10%, perhaps as high as 15%)
(Same as the U.S. import duty rates, btw)
They thought a revenue "bubble" would occur.It didn't.
The pressure is on to implement income and capital gains taxes, for which there are arguments for and against.
Without comparable tax structures, tax treaties cannot be had. Reciprocity.
The B$ is artificially held on par with the U.S. Dollar through the use of U.S. currency reserve. (currently over $1bn) I am led to believe there is between 2bn-3bn Bahamian dollars
in circulation in the Bahamas only, obviously.
There is some talk of adopting the U.S. dollar as the Bahamas currency, which could actually happen with the use of Brady Bonds.
Much deeper than most would want to know, probably.
I would like to see a link to this. The Bahamian government cannot afford a helicopter, much less its citizens spending 2.11 billion the state of Florida on tourism/ personal shopping,in a single year. I wouldn't think there isn't $ 2 billion combined in the entire country from my many travels to there.
Old 07-25-2019, 04:56 AM
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Originally Posted by Molanabe View Post
I would like to see a link to this. The Bahamian government cannot afford a helicopter, much less its citizens spending 2.11 billion the state of Florida on tourism/ personal shopping,in a single year. I wouldn't think there isn't $ 2 billion combined in the entire country from my many travels to there.
Visit any dock on one of the major islands when the "mailboat" shows up and see how much stuff is off loaded. Times are good right now. I was amazed at the number of 4 engine center consoles we saw all over the Abacos on our recent trip. Every meal was $100 for two. We burned a couple of thousand dollars in fuel in our $3800 rental boat. Drank plenty of $78 a case beer too.

As mentioned, when the economy hits the skids is when the Bahamas will feel the real pain. Then the government will be making deals selling out its natural resources to the highest bidder! Once that happens the place turns into Bimini. Fancy resort with walls on one end and trash laden town with drugged out zombies on the other end.


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Old 07-25-2019, 05:10 AM
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Originally Posted by Molanabe View Post
I would like to see a link to this. The Bahamian government cannot afford a helicopter, much less its citizens spending 2.11 billion the state of Florida on tourism/ personal shopping,in a single year. I wouldn't think there isn't $ 2 billion combined in the entire country from my many travels to there.
Capt. Odyessea is correct. The Bahamas imports virtually everything used in the country. The vast majority of which comes from the US specifically S. Florida.

I'm no fan of VAT. It has especially hurt Bahamians. The Bahamas has some very serious financial issues. They keep putting bandaids on structural issues which must be corrected if they are to right their financial ship.

BigBone, I'm fairly financial literate but I'm having some difficulty understanding your point. The Bahamians are absolutely aware that de-linking the BD$ from the USD$ is suicide. If there is a real point of contention with VAT it's that the Bahamian government requires VAT to be paid on Government Taxes. Now this really PO's Bahamians.
Old 07-25-2019, 05:51 AM
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I love the Bahama's as much or more than the next person, Bahamian or not.
Lived there as a child, have gone back numerous times each year since the 70's.
What has ruined or is ruining the Bahamas for me? Visitors, mostly US visitors.
It has forced me to go further and deeper to get to "The Bahamas". With that, and with the visitors has come greater expense.
When I spend the money I spend, I don't want to be in a casino, or around the people going to a casino. I want, nothing.
Lately, a dock, a bed, a shower, and A/C. No TV, no WiFi. I want Bahamian food. Not fish/lobster/conch with a relish on it.
To get that now, is DAMN expensive. And for that, I can get on a plane, fly in the front, and visit some really nice far away places.
If the economy goes South, some parts of the Bahama's will return to normal, for me. I hope.
But for the most part, the Bahama's I know and love are gone, as are other Islands I grew up on.
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Old 07-25-2019, 06:38 AM
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Parker is right, it isn't what it used to be.
Serious timelines for getting anything requiring government approvals can run into months.
Try opening a Bahamian Business bank account. 6 months is the norm. FACTA rules imposed (KYC)
The Government is broke, a very high % of citizens are broke.
Real estate brokers/rental agents are the next target for money laundering potential by the international "authorities"
I believe our current Minister of Finance is on the right track, but he is bucking decades of drilling holes in the fiscal bucket.
Hard to change a culture which has for the last 50 years had it pretty good, but squandered its luck.
BTW, the Bahamas is not a WTO member, but the process to join has taken 20 years. Maybe joining in 2020, but it may be delayed again.
Not compliant in various areas. Almost all the legislation passed in the last 20 years has been WTO compliance driven.
There is no one link for what I posted above Molonabe, just have been following it for the last 20 +years.
Devaluation has been threatened over the last 10-20 years, either politically pre election as a scare tactic, and by international lenders, IMF etc behind closed doors.
Somehow I doubt the U.S. wants another impoverished state less than 50 miles off its coast.
US foreign reserves have improved with $1.2 Bn US held by the Central Bank. Or national debt has hit $9Bn however.
Old 07-25-2019, 06:43 AM
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That's $9 Billion divided by 385,000 Bahamian citizens.

The result of the first 40 years as a socialist government.
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Old 07-25-2019, 06:44 AM
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Originally Posted by BigBone View Post
A 6-month boycott of Bahamian travel by US vessels would bring the Ministry of Tourism to its knees and force them to deal fairly.

Tr

Another fishy chat room proposed boycott of the Bahamas. Now we just need someone to comment that they don't visit the Bahamas because it's corrupt and they will "spend their hard earned dollars in the Keys."

For those of us that have been visiting the Bahamas regularly and happily go with the flow of whatever current bullshit the Bahamas is dealing with, I speak on behalf of all of us that we wish you guys would just hurry up and act on this "boycott" as soon as you can.
Old 07-25-2019, 06:48 AM
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40 years of Fiscal irresponsibility and hands in the cookie jar.
Treasury was $6 mil in the green in 1968 pre-election, was gone in 3 months.
Old 07-25-2019, 06:48 AM
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Originally Posted by Parker Yacht View Post
I love the Bahama's as much or more than the next person, Bahamian or not.
Lived there as a child, have gone back numerous times each year since the 70's.
What has ruined or is ruining the Bahamas for me? Visitors, mostly US visitors.
It has forced me to go further and deeper to get to "The Bahamas". With that, and with the visitors has come greater expense.
When I spend the money I spend, I don't want to be in a casino, or around the people going to a casino. I want, nothing.
Lately, a dock, a bed, a shower, and A/C. No TV, no WiFi. I want Bahamian food. Not fish/lobster/conch with a relish on it.
To get that now, is DAMN expensive. And for that, I can get on a plane, fly in the front, and visit some really nice far away places.
If the economy goes South, some parts of the Bahama's will return to normal, for me. I hope.
But for the most part, the Bahama's I know and love are gone, as are other Islands I grew up on.
Right on. This is what I want when I go there, I don't want to see or mingle with anyone I know from anywhere.

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