Bahrain plans tourism tax clampdown
Manama, May 3, 2014
Fifteen tourist facilities in Bahrain, including 13 hotels, have been referred to the Public Prosecution for failing to pay outstanding tourism taxes, said a report.
The hotels owe the government a combined total of BD1.822 million ($4.8 million) and two furnished apartment buildings have to pay a total of BD41,620, said Culture Minister Shaikha Mai bint Mohammed Al Khalifa.
She told MPs, in a written letter, that the ministry has repeatedly sent warnings to the facilities to pay their debts.
She also revealed that 16 hotels, including a five-star hotel, owe a total of BD1.891 million in late payments, while 21 furnished apartment buildings have outstanding payments of BD59,120.
The mandatory tax is paid every three months, and the ministry collected BD9.735 million last year, BD8.485 million in 2012 and BD5.576 million in 2011.
"To ensure that taxes are not evaded, we have introduced new regulations to have all facilities within a hotel listed under its account rather than separately. This was recently approved by the Legislation and Legal Opinion Commission," said Shaikha Mai.
"Whatever we collect from the hotels we transfer daily to the Finance Ministry and we don't accept financial reports, in which we calculate taxes without it being looked into and authorised by an external auditor.
"If we notice any difference between the audited version and books in the tourist facility we call them to clarify and pay the balance.
"If they fail to pay the difference, then our tourist inspectors, who have judiciary authorities, will visit the facility and note a violation, which will immediately get referred to the Public Prosecution. "There are 15 cases already facing legal action," he added.-TradeArabia News Service