CCC defends VAT for vendors

The Castries Constituencies Council (CCC) has defended a decision to impose Value Added Tax (VAT) on vendors.

The fifteen percent VAT became effective with invoices distributed to vendors at the end of November, 2016.

The Communications Manager at the council, Jason Hullingseed, explained that since the introduction of VAT in 2012, the organization has not been collecting the tax from vendors.

Hullingseed said the VAT office advised the council to implement the measure for vendors.

He explained that the CCC will be meeting with the vendors.

“They do need to understand that a business approach needs to be taken at the council,” Hullingseed told the Times.

He noted that the CCC, which already had its own financial challenges,  had been absorbing the VAT for a long time now.

According to information obtained by the Times, the council incurs about half a million dollars in losses every year due to the non-payment of the tax by vendors.

The President of the Vendors’ Association, Peter ‘Ras Ipa’ Isaac however told the Times that the new tax flies in the face of the government’s announced policy of protecting small business people and lower income citizens.

“It goes against the grain of what the government is doing now – government is trying to reform the whole tax system, bringing down the VAT and trying to exempt small businesses from paying taxes because it has been said that small businesses have been hurt by the VAT,” the Vendors’ Association President stated.

He said already the CCC is complaining about arrears owed by vendors and taxing the $120 that they have to pay monthly for rental and tickets will create further problems.

“We have no guarantee that we are going to make money when ships come because things are hard,” Isaac explained.

Isaac disclosed plans to dispatch a petition to the Minister with Responsibility for Local Government, protesting the imposition of VAT.

“This is all coming without any type of consultation,” he observed.

Isaac recalled that just last week the Castries Constituencies Council had a meeting with vendors and there was no mention of imposing the fifteen percent VAT.