Residents to benefit from back to school ‘hurricane readiness’ VAT free holidays

DR. HUBERT MINNIS, Prime Minister

Grand Bahamians are again set to benefit from the government’s valued added tax (VAT) holiday.

Back in 2020, parents were able to save on uniform purchases and school supplies as a result of the tax break, which came about following a decision by the government to ease the burden of residents in Grand Bahama and Abaco, who had recently experienced the devastation of Hurricane Dorian.

This year, residents will be able to take advantage, twice, as Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis, Minister of Finance also announced the removal of VAT on hurricane preparedness supplies as well.

The Prime Minister shared the tax relief conditions on Wednesday, when he opened debate on the 2021/2022 Budget in the House of Assembly.

The VAT holidays are set for the months of July for hurricane preparedness supplies, and August, for back to school supplies.

“Because we are committed to policies that serve all Bahamians, and not just a few political cronies, and colleagues, I am pleased to announce the following measures.

“Last year, my administration introduced legislation that permitted the Minister of Finance to provide VAT holidays up to two times per year for up to 30 days for specific reasons,” said the PM.

Hurricane Season began June 1 until November 31.

“I remind Bahamians and residents to begin their hurricane preparations. To assist with these preparations, this year for the first time, we will undertake a VAT holiday for hurricane preparations. This will be during the month of July. This will assist Bahamians to enjoy VAT free shopping on a range of critical hurricane supplies and equipment,” said Dr. Minnis.

As it relates to the back to school shopping tax break, the PM reminded colleagues the incentive was introduced in August 2020.

“We introduced the Back to School VAT holiday last August. This provided Bahamian households with VAT free shopping on a range of school supplies, as they got their children ready for the new academic year. The VAT holiday provided millions of dollars in savings across the country and was a boost for Bahamian businesses.

“This year, we are once again undertaking a Back to School VAT holiday during the month of August. The Ministry of Finance will provide the details of the dates and the items to be included for VAT free shopping. I remind the House and Bahamian residents that the VAT holidays are only applicable for eligible items purchased inside the country from local wholesalers and retailers,” said Dr. Minnis.

The tax incentive is a means for residents to shop at home.

“We want people to shop at home so that this money stays at home and benefits Bahamian businesses, and by extension, all of the employees of these commercial enterprises.

“So, my message to everyone is that they should use the month of July to get their homes and businesses ready for the hurricane season. Take advantage of the savings and avoid the rush,” said Dr. Minnis. 

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