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Bahamas Cannot Avoid Tax Reforms In FTAA Says Foreign Minister

by Amanda Banks, Tax-News.com, London

03 December 2003


The Bahamian Foreign Minister Fred A. Mitchell has waded into the debate on the jurisdiction’s place within the FTAA and other regional organisations by describing the current state of negotiations as “confusing”, which could spell wholesale reform of the nation’s taxation system.

"In my view as no one has yet adequately explained to the public exactly what this is actually going to mean in terms of their business, the series of issues we're trying to consider at the same time is of great confusion for much of the public," Mr Mitchell told the country’s business leaders at a forum on the FTAA last week.

The Foreign Minister said this throws up a number of questions regarding the nation’s economy which have yet to be answered. “And another, which is more fundamental, is can the existing tax system continue to pay for the delivery of goods and services by the Bahamas government today and on into the future?"

Mitchell forecast that "regardless of what happens, we have to change our tax system, because the present system is simply not paying the country's way."

His comments would appear to contradict somewhat remarks made by Trade and Industry Minister Leslie Miller recently who told a press conference: “Personally I don't see any reason why we should have to dismantle our tax system just to become players."

"I don't think we can expect any country to dismantle its tax regime just to be a participant in this process called FTAA, especially in the Bahamas where our taxation system is not discriminatory; its straight across the board,” argued Miller.


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