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G.S.T. buckle up with businesses

Posted: Saturday, December 3, 2016. 7:06 pm CST.

belizenews.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/01/GST-logo.jpg">GST logo

By BBN Staff: There is a new policy being implemented by the Department of General Sales Tax (GST).

This new policy will change the registration process for new businesses. The new rule will require any person who is registering a new business to apply to the Commissioner of the GST for a compliance letter prior to visiting the Companies Registry. This was implemented in an attempt to crack down on businesses that are not complying with the laws.

G.S.T. recently reported that many businesses are deriding the tax laws. Genevie Jones, Supervisor of the Tax Payer Unit told the media that G.S.T. officers are currently visiting business establishments countrywide on a random basis to make checks and find out if the various aspects of the GST Act are being complied with. “Failure to comply with GST provisions is a criminal offense,” Jones added.

Jones said that all businesses must issue a tax receipt or tax invoice to customers displaying the GST certificate at a place where it is visible to the public.

Businesses must also keep proper books and records, she emphasized. “Failure to do so, exposes a business to court prosecution.”

This new implementation was necessary also because sometimes, business owners make changes to their establishments without notifying the corresponding authorities.

“If there are any changes, the business owner must inform the GST Commissioner by filling out a form to alert the Department of any changes, for example: the status of the business, if there are changes, such as that of owners, the Commissioner must be advised within seven days,” Jones further explained.

Failure to do so can result in a $1,000 fine and a $100 per day fine for each day the fine is outstanding.

Several incidents have risen whereby the owner of a business has broken the law and is summoned to court. But when the person is to appear in court, a different individual takes his place, claiming to represent the business or to be part of the business. This is where the conflict arises, since the Department has not been informed of any changes. Even though some may argue that under the GST Act, another person can be appointed by the business owner as his/her principal, it must now be reported.

Some accused business proprietors have been caught by claiming that they no longer own the business. In such situations, the previous owner is summoned, especially if the person has arrears in taxes. GST also explains that if the owner cannot be located the new owner may be released on bail and his case adjourned.

However, in order for the business to continue operating, the new owner will have to take care of any arrears or other pending liabilities left by the previous proprietor.
GST takes the opportunity to encourage the general public and businesses owners to abide by the law. The business community is warned that in worse case scenarios, failure to comply with this new law, and committing other tax offences can result in fines ranging from $5,000 to $10,000, and can also include a one year sentence in prison.
For more information, contact the GST offices or email [email protected]bz


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