Our Readers' Opinions
May 11, 2007
Businesses taking advantage of VAT


Editor: The implementation of VAT has caused much uneasiness and stress amongst the population. Many have made it a political issue, but it is not. For regardless to which party was in power, VAT was a must.

The VAT Unit would have held many consultations throughout the country and has done much in educating the populace. It is sad that we are faced with almost a rise in price in every item, although VAT should have brought a reduction in prices to the consumers. The opposite is true.{{more}}

Many businesses have taken advantage of the system and have used VAT to raise their items. Investigations have shown that in many cases where items should have fallen, it went up. For example a portable jack which had a consumption tax of 55% now has VAT 15%, yet that same jack which cost $55.00 before VAT is now sold at the same $55.00 plus VAT. The consumer now pays 70% tax. Chicken back, wings and legs have also risen. In restaurants, everything is 15% more for VAT. Sweet drinks which have a fall in tax, because of VAT since the VAT is lower than the consumption tax paid previously. A release from the St.Vincent Brewery stated that soft drinks have fallen from $20.00 a case to $ 17.60 without VAT and with VAT it is $20.40, yet consumers are charged $23.00 a case.

Having investigated the matter, we are told by the VAT unit that the old stocks that the companies have, the consumers have to pay VAT. Thus

making it more expensive. To me this is unfair to the consumers. The companies would have already paid their consumption tax of whatever amount, which was passed on to us the consumers. That consumption tax goes to the government. Now to pay another 15% VAT on the present item because it is old stock is taking advantage of the consumers. The VAT we are told goes to the government, but they would have already collect monies from the consumption tax. There are also items that were zero rated that VAT is now charged. We are told that it is old stock. But since it is zero rated why should VAT be paid on it.

The question needs to be asked “how does the VAT Unit know if a company is selling old stock and when will it begin to sell the new stock?” I think that something should have already been put in place to deal with these items. For a company may sell stocks for many months and who knows how long under the guise of old stocks and we the consumers have to pay a higher price rather than a reduced price.

The businesses and companies receive a return from these VAT sales, but we receive nothing. Not even refund for the VAT paid on old stocks. This is totally unfair.

I hope that by the time this article is read in the weekend papers, that something would have been done to ensure that items and services are correctly charge, and that items and services that VAT should not be charged on and are charged be removed, and that items and services that should be cheaper be cheaper.

It is time for some businesses to pay the penalty of the law when they have taken advantage of the consumers. I wish that something be done speedily or the government will suffer the consequence. While the VAT Unit would have done a good job in educating, they lapse in not putting measures in place to deal with this current situation.

Thank you
Kennard King