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BTC clarifies VAT double charge issue

9 Jan 2015

Bahamas Telecommunications Company has issued a statement in response to accusations that it is double charging customers for value added tax (VAT), following the introduction of the new levy on 1 January 2015. Tribune 242 writes that consumer rights organisation Consumer Action Bahamas (CAB) has filed a complaint with sector regulator the Utilities Regulations and Competition Authority (URCA) against BTC, alleging that the telco is charging VAT on pre-paid services whilst as well as at the point of sale for service packages. A statement from the rights group stated that ‘despite BTC’s public notices, pre-paid customers were in fact being charged VAT at the point of sale by in-store vendors for BTC’s pre-paid services.’

Clarifying the matter, BTC has issued a statement, confirming that VAT should not be charged at the point of sale and calling for customers to report any vendors that include a charge for the new tax. VAT for BTC’s pre-paid services is only charged at the point of usage, with customers paying VAT on calls, texts and data usage. The Bahamas Weekly quotes the cellco’s CEO Leon Williams as saying: ‘BTC has been preparing for VAT for over one year. We’ve had numerous training sessions with our employees and our master distributors to ensure that everyone was informed and trained prior to the implementation of VAT. We are unequivocally stating to customers, not to purchase mobile top ups from vendors that are charging VAT on mobile top up purchases and to report those instances of abuse to BTC. We have established a dedicated hotline to answering VAT questions, queries and complaints.’

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