GST clamps down on collections Print E-mail
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Thursday, 29 April 2010 00:00

GST officer demonstrates an appropriate tax receiptThe Department of the General Sales Tax and the Bureau of Standards are making their rounds across the country to ensure that consumers are being charged the right amount in GST and that government is collecting its fair share of the tax. Over the past couple of weeks both departments have visited businesses in the Corozal and Orange Walk districts and this week they made it to Belize City.

The Guardian Newspaper caught up with the team as it was making its round in Belize

City. Martin Rivas is a GST officer for Belize City and he explained that since Monday of this week they have been visiting registered stores to ensure that the 12 ½ percent GST is being collected on goods that are taxable, and they are also ensuring that the GST is not collected on zero-rated items. This, he says, is being done for the benefit of consumers as well as government to ensure proper collection and payment of GST.  While the Department makes its rounds across the country, Rivas advises that consumers need to know what items are taxable and what are not. This way, consumers can be protected from the overpricing of products. Another mechanism by which consumers can protect themselves, says Rivas, is through the use of cash registers by businesses. He adds that appropriate use of part of their business inspections includes the enforcing of the use of cash registers that have been programmed to automatically include or exclude items that are either taxable or zero-rated.

It is in this area that Rivas says some businesses are failing. He comments that they have encountered “some problems with the tax receipt, where they are not structured properly.” By this Rivas says “the consumer would not know what goods are taxable and what are not.” This is one area which he says the Department is trying to rectify so that tax receipts are properly structured. While on Tuesday April 28th the GST and Bureau of Standards Departments were doing their work in the larger supermarkets, Rivas ensures the public that they will be making their way to the small grocery stores as well. He adds that we are “reaching the age in this millennium that everybody needs to have a proper cash register. We are also asking consumers to ask for their tax receipt.”

For the immediate future, Rivas says that the GST Department is ensuring a smooth transition to the 12 ½ % in GST to ensure that whatever items that attract the tax are taxed properly and to ensure that zero-rated items are not taxed.