Charitable Fundraising Not Subject to VAT

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Public attendance at organized charitable events is exempt from VAT

March 1, 2015 – (Nassau, Bahamas) – Since the rollout of VAT at the start of this year, many charitable organizations in The Bahamas have successfully registered for VAT and are operating with ease. However, it is important that all such organizations be aware of the VAT exemptions that may apply to their events as the work that charities do in The Bahamas is vital for the health and well-being of our nation.

Public attendance at organized charitable events is exempt from VAT. Exemption is without limit if the items sold for the fundraisers are donated.  If the organizers buy and then resell the goods for the event, VAT will only have to be charged if revenue raised in this fashion is expected to exceed $50,000 per year.  Such organizers though would also qualify for VAT credits on their fundraising expenses.

Included in the list of recognized charities are social and community programs supported by churches, civic groups and clubs.

The Ministry of Finance also recognizes daycare centers, schools and similar facilities operated by churches as charitable.

“We encourage all Bahamians to support charitable activities” said Minister of State for Finance, Michael Halkitis. “Thus we will ensure their full donations are used to support their cause of choice”.

The procedure for registering a fundraiser with the VAT Department is integrated with obtaining occasion business licenses, which includes permits issued by the Public Health Department, Police and Ministry of Works. In most cases the registration will result in a confirmation that the event is exempt.

A spokesperson for the VAT Department also explained that ticket sales for virtually all private family events such as cookouts for medical expenses and school fees are be exempt, since they would not be expected to raise more than $50,000 per year.

The Ministry of Finance and the VAT Department are working hard to ensure a smooth implementation of VAT. A representative from the VAT department stated “we are pleased with the smooth rollout of VAT and we are here to help charities understand which of their activities are subject to the 7.5% VAT tax.

For more information visit www.bahamas.gov.bs/VAT or look up VATBahamas on Facebook, Twitter, Youtube and Instagram.
To contact the VAT Department directly, please send an email to vatcustomerservice@bahamas.gov.bs or call VAT Client Services at (242) 225-7280.