In early November, two local entrepreneurs hosted a VAT Bootcamp Seminar to a packed room of 80 local business people. The attendees received valuable information about VAT Registration and preparing their businesses for the impending new tax, slated for January 1, 2014.
Sarah Kirkby of Barefoot Marketing and Leigh Termath, of Bahama Buy and Sell, organized this seminar in response to the concerns of their clients.
Over the summer, their own customers told them they were not prepared for VAT and did not feel they were equipped with the tools to adequately prepare their business. Kirkby and Termath then worked with local accounting experts to come up with an intense one-day bootcamp, to give the attendees as much information as they could.
The seminar opened with certified accountant, Christopher Baker, of HLB Galanis, outlining in detail all the requirements for Registration for the Value Added Tax, noting that registration must be completed by November 30.
The second morning session was presented by Baker and Leigh Termath and gave an overview of VAT, how it will be charged out, how businesses are to keep their records and many other requirements as laid out in the VAT ACT and the Regulations. Termath stated,” Some of our attendees had been to other seminars, whether given by the Government or at industry meetings, but felt it was important to have all the key facts reinforced again and again.”
In addition, having a private accountant at the seminar, it allowed the attendees to voice concerns specific to their own business and get practical advice from an expert.
The early afternoon session saw an overview of how Quickbooks can be adapted to accommodate for the tax, given that this is a new thing for Bahamian businesses. Baker was able to show the steps on how to make a company’s existing Quickbooks program work.
The final session was an overview of all industries, as the team felt that owners and their employees needed to know “everything” about VAT so they could plan for things like car purchases, education, insurance, etc.
Kirkby kept the intense session very lively by giving away prizes throughout the day and keeping the crowd upbeat and on track, while allowing them to ask questions.
Of concern to the participants was the fact that the presenters advised them that many policies and rules have yet to be finalized by the government. The best that could be presented were the most up to date guidelines, which are available on the Government’s VAT website.
Because information is being updated daily, the Practical VAT Bootcamp has set up their own private Facebook group that gives the attendees the latest information as it comes in. This education, plus support and advice from other group members, who are all business people, is proving invaluable.
Due to the huge response to the first sold out seminar, another one is scheduled for November 25th, to be held at the Grand Bahama Chamber of Commerce. The VAT Bootcamp Express will give the latest information on Vat Guidelines, Registration and accounting records. This is an all day event for $125 with limited seating and then an afternoon session for $50 giving an overview of all of the industries guidelines.
This would be good for companies to send their managers and employees, who may not necessarily be involved in the accounting end of VAT but will want to have good knowledge of the new tax regime to educate all employees and customers on how to prepare for VAT in their daily lives. The all-day session is limited to 40 persons only and the afternoon session will accept an additional 35 people.
Like the first seminar, this one is expected to fill up quickly as the deadline date for Registration of November 30, 2014 draws very near. For more information on attending the VAT Bootcamp Express contact 352-4578 / 351-9157 or [email protected] or look for the facebook event.