Sales Tax Act

Link to law: http://www.belizelaw.org/web/lawadmin/PDF%20files/cap063.pdf
Published: 2000

CAP. 63 SALES TAX ACT BELIZE

SALES TAX ACT

CHAPTER 63

REVISED EDITION 2000

SHOWING THE LAW AS AT 31ST DECEMBER, 2000.

This is a revised edition of the law, prepared by the Law Revision Commissioner

under the authority of the Law Revision Act, Chapter 3 of the Laws of Belize,

Revised Edition 1980 - 1990.

This edition contains a consolidation of the following laws - Page

ARRANGEMENT OF SECTIONS 3

SALES TAX ACT 7

Amendments in force as at 31st December, 2000.

BELIZE

SALES TAX ACT

CHAPTER 63

REVISED EDITION 2000

SHOWING THE LAW AS AT 31ST DECEMBER, 2000.

This is a revised edition of the law, prepared by the Law Revision Commissioner

under the authority of the Law Revision Act, Chapter 3 of the Laws of Belize,

Revised Edition 1980 - 1990.

This edition contains a consolidation of the following laws - Page

ARRANGEMENT OF SECTIONS 3

SALES TAX ACT

Amendments in force as at 31st December, 2000.

7

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Sales Tax [CAP. 63 3

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CHAPTER 63

SALES TAX

ARRANGEMENT OF SECTIONS

PART I

Preliminary

1. Short title.

2. Interpretation.

PART II

Administration

3. Commissioner of Sales Tax.

4. Appointment of other staff.

5. Department of Sales Tax.

PART III

Registration of Sales Tax Agents

6. Registration.

7. Form of application.

Sales TaxCAP. 63]

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8. Time for registration.

9. Penalty for non-registration and arbitrary assessment.

10. Special registration for exempt sales tax agents.

11. Certificate of registration and penalty for non-display.

12. Cancellation of registration.

PART IV

Imposition and Collection of Tax

13. Imposition and rates of tax.

14. Tax on imports.

15. Exemptions.

16. Relief on certain imports and purchases.

17. Penalty for falsification of tax exemption certificate.

18. Tax period.

19. Returns and penalties for non-filing and late filing.

20. Commissioner to make assessments.

21. Additional assessments.

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22. Recovery of Tax.

23. Unauthorised collection of tax and penalty.

PART V

Review of Assessment and Appeal

24. Review of assessment by the Commissioner.

25. Appointment and functions of the Sales Tax Appeal Board.

26. Appeals to the Sales Tax Appeal Board.

27. Appeals to the Supreme Court.

28. Security for appeals.

PART VI

Accounts

29. Tax invoice.

30. Books and records to be kept.

31. Credit and Debit notes.

Sales TaxCAP. 63]

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PART VII

Miscellaneous and Transitional Provisions and Regulations

32. Bad debts.

33. Effect of changes in tax on existing contracts.

34. Invoices given and payments made on or before appointed day.

35. Evidence.

36. Audit and ancillary powers.

37. Official information and secrecy.

38. Use of agents.

39. General penalty.

40. Regulations.

41. This Act to prevail over the Fiscal Incentives Act.

42. Exemption from tax in certain instances of emergency.

43. Commencement.

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CHAPTER 63

SALES TAX

[30th March, 1999]

PART I

Preliminary

1. This Act may be cited as the Sales Tax Act.

2. (1) For the purpose of this Act, unless the context otherwise requires:-

“Board” means the Sales Tax Appeal Board appointed under Part V of this

Act;

“body of persons” means any body politic, corporate or collegiate and any

company, fraternity, fellowship, partnership, or society of persons whether

corporate or unincorporate;

“certificate of registration” means a certificate of registration issued under

section 11 of this Act;

“Commissioner” means the Commissioner of Sales Tax appointed under

section 3 of this Act;

“consideration”, in relation to the supply of goods or services to any per-

son, includes any payment made or any act or forbearance whether or not

voluntary, in respect of, in response to, or for the inducement of, the supply

of any goods or services, whether by that person or by any other person;

Short title.

Interpretation.

8 of 1999.

10 of 2000.

Commencement

[1. 4. 1999]

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“consideration in money” includes consideration expressed as an amount

of money;

“entered” has the meaning given to that expression by section 2 of the

Customs and Excise Duties Act;

“exempted goods or services” means any goods or services exempted

from the application of this Act by an Order made under section 14;

“goods” has the same meaning as assigned to it by section 2 of the Cus-

toms Regulation Act other than things in action and money;

“licensed financial institution” means a bank or a financial institution li-

censed under the Banks and Financial Institutions Act;

“Minister” means the Minister responsible for Budget Management;

“money” includes -

(a) any banknote or other negotiable instrument used or

circulated, or intended for use or circulation, as cur-

rency; and

(b) any postal note, money order, promissory note, or bill

of exchange,

whether issued or given in Belize or any other country, but does not in-

clude a collector’s piece, investment article, or item of numismatic inter-

est;

“person” means a natural person or a legal person and includes a firm, a

branch and any body of persons, whether corporate or unincorporate;

CAP. 48.

CAP. 49.

CAP. 263.

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“producer”, in relation to goods, means the person by whom the goods are

produced other than the mere supplier of the goods;

“provider”, in relation to services, means the person by whom the services

are provided;

“registered” means registered under Part III of this Act;

“registration number” means, in relation to a registered person, the identi-

fying number borne by the tax registration certificate issued to that person;

“return” means a return required by section 17 of this Act;

“sale” includes:-

(a) the transfer of possession of goods under a hire pur-

chase agreement within the meaning of section 2 of the

Hire Purchase Act;

(b) the sale of goods pursuant to an agreement under which

the whole or part of the purchase price is payable by

installments; and

(c) any contract similar to a sale in other respects, but made

for a consideration wholly or partly in money’s worth

or not, or not only, in money;

“sales tax agent” or “registered sales tax agent” or “registered person” means

a person registered under Part III of this Act in either of the following cat-

egories:

(a) goods sales tax agent - a person who is a producer of

goods;

CAP. 292.

Sales TaxCAP. 63]

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(b) services sales tax agent - a person who is a provider

of services;

(c) goods and services sales tax agent - a person who is

both a producer of goods and a provider of services;

(d) exempt sales tax agent - an embassy or diplomatic

mission, or a charitable or nonprofit organisation as

approved by the Minister by Order published in the

Gazette, and includes the Belize Electric Company

Limited and its successors and permitted assigns as

provided for in the Mollejon Hydroelectric Project

(Exemption from Taxes and Duties) Act;

“services” means any services which are not exempt services under this

Act or regulations made thereunder;

“supplier”, in relation to goods and services, means the person by whom

the goods or services are supplied;

“tax” means the sales tax imposed under this Act;

“taxable proceeds” in relation to a sales tax agent, means the proceeds of

such agent from the source mentioned in section 13.

PART II

Administration

3. (1) There shall be a Commissioner of Sales Tax who shall be

appointed by the Governor-General acting on the advice of the Prime

Commissioner of

Sales Tax.

CAP. 59.

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Minister given in accordance with section 107 of the Belize Constitution.

(2) The Commissioner shall be responsible for the due administration

of this Act and for the assessment, collection and recovery of tax.

(3) Any function conferred by this Act on the Commissioner may be

exercised as may be necessary by any public officer or other person duly

authorised by the Commissioner in that behalf, and references in this Act or

in the regulations made thereunder, shall be construed accordingly.

4. (1) There shall be appointed by the Public Services Commission or

other competent authority such other staff as may be necessary for the

due administration of this Act, and the regulations made thereunder.

(2) The officers appointed by the Public Services Commission for the

purpose of the Value Added Tax Act, who were in position immediately

before the commencement of this Act, shall be deemed to have been duly

appointed under this Act and may exercise all the powers conferred under

this Act.

5. The Commissioner appointed under section 3 shall be a Head of De-

partment and his office shall be known as the Department of Sales Tax

which shall be under the overall control of the Minister.

PART III

Registration of Sales Tax Agents

6. Every person who is a producer of goods (whether for the domestic

or export market) or a provider of services, or both a producer of goods

and provider of services shall register as a sales tax agent:

Appointment of

other staff.

Act 16/1995.

Continuity of

Officer..

Registration.

Department of

Sales Tax.

CAP. 4.

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Provided that persons:

(a) whose total taxable proceeds do not exceed

$4,500.00 in any one month or $54,000.00 in any

year; or

(b) who provide exempt goods or services;

shall not be eligible to register under this Act.

7. Every application for registration under this Act shall be made in

such form and shall contain such information as may be approved by the

Commissioner or prescribed by regulations.

8. Every person who is required to be registered under section 6 of this

Act shall:-

(i) if he is a producer of goods or a provider of services

at the commencement of this Act, register with the

Commissioner within one week of such commence-

ment;

(ii) if he becomes a producer of goods or a provider of

services at any time after the commencement of this

Act, register with the Commissioner within one month

of his so becoming a producer or a provider.

9. (1) Every person who contravenes or fails to comply with the

provisions of section 8 above shall be guilty of an offence and shall be

liable on summary conviction to a fine which shall not be less than five

thousand dollars nor more than ten thousand dollars, or to imprisonment

for a term not exceeding two years.

Form of applica-

tion.

Time for registra-

tion.

Penalty for non-

registration and

arbitrary assess-

ment.

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(2) Without prejudice to subsection (1) above, where it comes to the

knowledge of the Commissioner that a person required to be registered

under this Act has failed to do so, the Commissioner shall raise assessment

for the tax due and payable under this Act against such person in his best

judgement, and any such assessment may be enforced in like manner as if

such person were a registered person.

10. Every person who is approved by the Minister as an exempt sales

tax agent shall, within one month of such approval, register with the

Commissioner as such agent.

11. (1) The Commissioner shall cause every person registered under this

Act to be issued with a certificate of registration in such form and con-

taining such particulars as may be approved by the Commissioner, or

prescribed by regulations.

(2) A sales tax agent shall cause his certificate of registration, or a

certified copy of it issued by the Commissioner, to be displayed in public

view at the place from which the sales tax agent carries on business, or in

each such place where there is more than one.

(3) A person who contravenes subsection (2) above shall be guilty of

an offence and shall be liable on summary conviction to a fine not exceed-

ing one thousand dollars or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding twelve

months.

12. (1) A registered sales tax agent who ceases at any time to possess

the requirements necessary for registration under this Act may apply in

writing to the Commissioner to have his registration cancelled.

(2) Where a registered sales tax agent is convicted of any offence

under this Act, or any regulations made thereunder, the Commissioner may

cancel the registration of such person without prejudice to any other penal-

Special registra-

tion for exempt

sales tax agents.

Certificate of

registration and

penalty for non-

display.

Cancellation of

registration.

Sales TaxCAP. 63]

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ties imposed by the court for such offence.

PART IV

Imposition and Collection of Tax

13. (1) Subject to this Act, every person -

(a) who imports goods or services; or

(b) who purchases goods or services locally from a sales

tax agent,

shall pay tax at the rates specified in subsection (2):

Provided that, subject to section 16, no tax shall be payable where a

sales tax agent imports or purchases goods or services locally, whether

from a sales tax agent or from a non sales tax agent.

(2) Subject to this Act, there shall be charged, levied and collected

on the sales of every sales tax agent, other than an exempt sales tax agent,

tax at the following rates:-

(a) on alcohol, tobacco and fuel............. 12%

(b) on all other goods and services except exempt goods

and services l isted in section 15 of this

Act................................... 8%

(3) In computing the taxable proceeds of a sales tax agent, no ac-

count shall be taken of tax recovered under subsection (1) of this section.

Imposition and

rates of tax.

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(4) For the purposes of this Act, a purchase or sale takes place when:

(a) an invoice is given to the purchaser by the producer

or provider; or

(b) payment is made for the good or service; or

(c) the goods are made available, or the services are ren-

dered, as the case may be, to the recipient;

whichever is the earlier.

(5) In any other case, a sale or purchase takes place at such point in

time as may be specified by regulations made under this Act.

14. (1) Tax charged on imported goods shall be of an amount calculated

by multiplying the rate of tax applicable under this Act by the value of the

goods.

(2) The Comptroller of Customs shall be responsible for the collection

of the tax on imports.

(3) Tax on entry of imported goods shall be charged and payable un-

der this Act but, for the purposes of collecting and enforcing the payment

of the tax, the Customs Regulation Act and any other written law relating to

the importation of goods shall apply in the same manner as if it were a duty

of customs.

(4) Tax on the entry of imported goods becomes due and payable at

the time when the goods are entered, and is the liability of the importer.

(5) For the purposes of this Act, the value of goods imported into

Belize is the total amount of-

Tax on imports.

CAP. 49.

Sales TaxCAP. 63]

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(a) the value of the goods determined in accordance with

the Third Schedule to the Customs and Excise Du-

ties Act (whether or not duty is payable under that

Act); and

(b) duties, taxes (other than the tax charged under this

Act) and any other charges that are charged, paid or

payable upon the entry of imported goods,

except that where the goods are reimported after being exported for re-

pair, renovation or improvement and it is further shown that the goods

have been subjected to a process of repair, renovation or improvement

abroad and where their form or character has not been changed, the value

of the goods, for purposes of calculating the tax, if any, on the entry of the

goods when they are reimported, is the amount of the increase in their

value that is attributable to the process.

(6) Where a person pays tax on imports in excess of his liability under

this Act, the Comptroller of customs shall refund the amount by which the

payment exceeds such liability.

(7) For the purpose of importation of services, a provider of services

shall be deemed to be a registered person under this Act, irrespective of

the value of the services to be provided by him.

(8) Every importer of a service shall pay over to the Commissioner

the tax due and payable on the value of the service received by him and

shall forthwith render an account of the tax so payable to the Commis-

sioner, and every such amount shall be a debt owing from him to the Gov-

ernment and shall be recoverable as such.

CAP. 48.

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(9) Every person who contravenes subsection (8) above, shall be

guilty of an offence and shall be liable on conviction to a fine which shall not

be less than five thousand dollars but may extend to ten thousand dollars,

or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding two years.

15. (1) The goods and services listed below shall be exempt from the

application of tax:

(i) the supply of electricity;

(ii) the supply of water (not in bottles or similar contain-

ers for sale) and sewerage services;

(iii) the provision of financial services by institutions not

licensed under the Banks and Financial Institutions Act

which are closely related to financial intermediation,

market intermediation, risk pooling, and credit pur-

chase services, including services performed by credit

unions, cooperative societies, building societies, mort-

gage finance institutions and moneylenders;

(iv) goods intransit through the national customs territory

bound for either an Export Processing Zone, estab-

lished under the Export Processing Zone Act, or a

Commercial Free Zone, established under the Com-

mercial Free Zone Act, or a destination outside Belize;

(v) goods exported from Belize as verified by the Comp-

troller of Customs from the customs export entry form;

(vi) accommodation charges that are subject to the ac-

commodation tax levied under the Hotels and Tourist

Accommodation Act; and

Exemptions.

CAP. 263.

CAP. 280.

CAP. 278.

CAP. 285.

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(vii) goods or services which are made available from

funds provided under grant agreements with external

donor agencies, or funds borrowed from external fi-

nancial institutions by the Government of Belize, or

under a Government Guarantee, to assist the eco-

nomic development of Belize; and

(viii) basic foodstuff, namely, rice, flour, bread, corn, fresh

meat, eggs, beans, sugar, tortilla and condensed milk;

and

(ix) any of the following medicines and medical supplies

for human use, namely-

(a) analgesics in the form of liquids, tablets, capsules,

or other solid dosage forms for oral or rectal use;

(b) cough and cold preparations in the form of liq-

uids, tablets, capsules or other solid dosage forms

for oral or nasal use;

(c) diagnostic -testing kits and devices for testing glu-

cose in blood and urine;

(d) insulin and insulin syringes with needles and de-

vices of a type not exceeding 100 units (1.0ML)

capacity, for the administration of U-100 insulin;

(e) oral rehydration preparations in the form of salts

or solutions of W.H.O./ Pharmacopoeia stan-

dards;

(f) dialysis fluids; and

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(x) any fees and charges collected from students for ser-

vices provided by an Educational Institution within the

meaning of the Education Act, where that school -

(a) in the case of a private school, is registered under

that Act; and

(b) in any other case, is approved for the purposes of

this item by the Minister to whom responsibility for

education is assigned;

(xi) (a) text books, school work books and other educa-

tional texts in question-and- answer format with

spaces for insertion of answers, children’s picture

and painting books, exercise books;

(b) equipment and furniture for the use of recognized

educational institutions as certified by the Ministry

of Education;

(c) labour services approved by the Minister which are

provided to educational bodies recognized by the

Ministry of Education in connection with the con-

struction of buildings for educational use:

Provided that in the case of a private school, it is registered under the

Education Act, and in any other case the items to be purchased are ap-

proved for the purpose of this paragraph by the Minister responsible for

Education;

(xii) transport of passengers-

CAP. 36.

CAP. 36.

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(a) in any vehicle, ship or aircraft designed or adapted

to carry not less than 12 passengers; or

(b) on any scheduled flight, vehicle or vessel;

(xiii) freight services, that is, the commercial transporta-

tion of goods provided that the provision of this ser-

vice does not form a part of the provision of any other

service; and

(xiv) services rendered to persons not resident in Belize,

provided that:

(a) the services does not relate in any manner to

any land or building situate in Belize;

(b) the services are not utilized in Belize and the

benefit of the supply is not derived by any per-

son or entity within Belize; and

(c) the services are paid for in a currency other than

the currency of Belize.

(2) Where a non-sales tax agent sells to a sales tax agent free of tax

goods covered by an exemption certificate, the non-sales tax agent shall

be entitled to import goods of the same quantity and description free of

tax.

(3) The Minister may by Order exempt from the application of tax

such other classes of goods and services as may be specified in the Order,

subject to such conditions as may be so specified.

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(4) An Order made under subsection (3) of this section shall be sub-

ject to negative resolution.

16. (1) Sales tax agents shall be exempt from the payment of tax on

purchase of goods and acquisition of services from any sales tax agent by

providing to the latter a completed and signed tax exemption certificate in

respect of such goods or services:

Provided that in the case of a sales tax agent the said exemption

shall apply only to such goods as may be approved by the Commissioner

beforehand as being essential to the production of the final product.

(2) A sales tax agent shall be exempt from the payment of tax on the

importation of such goods as may be approved by the Commissioner be-

forehand as being essential for the production of the final product, upon

furnishing to the Comptroller of Customs a signed tax exemption certificate

in respect of such goods.

(3) The tax exemption certificate referred to in this section shall be in

such form as may be approved by the Commissioner or prescribed by regu-

lations.

17. Any person who falsifies a tax exemption certificate referred to in

section 16 of this Act shall be guilty of an offence and shall, without

prejudice to any higher penalties prescribed under any other law, be

liable on summary conviction to a fine which shall not be less than five

thousand dollars nor more than ten thousand dollars, or to imprisonment

for a term not exceeding two years:

Provided that, where an exempt sales tax agent is guilty of such an

offence on more than two occasions such agent shall, in addition to the

penalties prescribed above, lose the status and privileges of an exempt sales

tax agent.

Penalty for

falsification of

tax exemption

certificate.

Relief on certain

imports and

purchases.

Sales TaxCAP. 63]

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18. A sales tax agent shall, in respect of the purchases of goods and

services and the supply of goods and the provision of services, account

for and pay tax on a monthly basis.

19. (1) Every sales tax agent other than exempt sales tax agents shall, in

respect of the month of April, 1999 and each subsequent month thereaf-

ter, deliver to the Commissioner a return, in such form as the Commis-

sioner may approve or as may be prescribed by regulations, rendering an

account for the tax, and shall, at the same time, pay over to the Commis-

sioner the amount of tax collectible during the month for which the return is

submitted.

(2) Every exempt sales tax agent shall, in respect of the month of

April, 1999 and each subsequent month thereafter, deliver to the Com-

missioner a return, in such form as the Commissioner may approve or as

may be prescribed by regulations, rendering an account for the tax ex-

emption certificates issued during the month for which the return is submit-

ted.

(3) A return shall be furnished to the Commissioner at the address

specified on the form:-

(a) within fourteen days after the end of the tax period to

which it relates; or

(b) where the person ceases to be a sales tax agent dur-

ing a tax period, within fourteen days after the person

ceases to be a sales tax agent,

or within such further time as the Commissioner may, in writing, allow and

is not so furnished until it is received at that address.

Tax period.

Returns and

penalties for non-

filing and late

filing.

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(4) A person who fails to file a return as required by this section commits

an offence and shall be liable on summary conviction to a fine which shall

not be less than five thousand dollars nor more than ten thousand dollars,

or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding two years.

(5) Where any amount that a person is required to pay to the Com-

missioner is not paid within the prescribed period, the amount outstanding

shall bear a penalty of five percent per day, provided that the Commis-

sioner may, where he is satisfied that the circumstances of the case justify

the reduction or waiver of a penalty arising under this subsection, recom-

mend to the Financial Secretary the appropriate reduction or waiver of the

penalty, as the case may be.

(6) The provisions of this Act relating to the collection and recovery

of tax shall apply to the collection and recovery of the penalty referred to in

subsection (5) of this section.

20. (1) Where a return has been delivered to the Commissioner under

this Act, the Commissioner may:-

(a) accept the return; or

(b) refuse to accept the return and determine to the best of his

judgment the amount of tax payable and assess accordingly.

(2) Where a return has not been delivered, the Commissioner shall

use his best judgment to determine the proper amount of tax due and make

an assessment accordingly.

(3) The tax assessed under this section is payable to the Commis-

sioner by the person assessed as a debt due and payable without further

demand notwithstanding any review or appeal made under Part V of this

Act and such tax or part thereof shall be refunded if the review or appeal is

Commissioner to

make assess-

ments.

Sales TaxCAP. 63]

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the Government of Belize. [ ]

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determined in favour of the person assessed.

21. Where it appears to the Commissioner that any person liable to tax

has not been assessed or has been assessed at a less amount than that

which ought to have been charged, the Commissioner may, within the month

of assessment or within two years thereafter, assess such a person at such

amount or additional amount, as according to his judgment ought to have

been charged, and the provisions of this Act as to notice of assessment,

appeal and other proceedings under this Act shall apply to such assess-

ment or additional assessment and to the tax charged thereunder.

22. The provisions relating to the recovery of income and business tax

under the Income and Business Tax Act shall apply mutatis mutandis to

the recovery of tax under this Act.

23. Every person, other than a sales tax agent, who recovers or seeks to

recover from any other person an amount represented to be in respect of

tax commits an offence and is liable on summary conviction to a fine which

shall not be less than five thousand dollars nor more than ten thousand

dollars, or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding two years.

PART V

Review of Assessment and Appeal

24. (1) Where any person disputes an assessment as made under

section 20 of this Act, he may apply to the Commissioner by notice in

writing within fifteen days of the notice of assessment to review the as-

sessment, and every such notice shall state the grounds on which the

assessment is disputed.

Unauthorised

collection of tax

and penalty.

Review of

assessment by the

Commissioner.

Recovery of tax.

CAP. 55.

Additional

assessments.

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(2) On receipt of a notice of review under subsection (1), the Com-

missioner may require the person concerned to furnish such particulars as

he may deem necessary with respect to the tax of the person assessed and

to produce all books or other documents in his custody or control relating

to such tax and may summon any person whom he thinks is able to give

evidence respecting the assessment to attend before him and may examine

such person on oath or otherwise.

(3) The Commissioner shall consider the notice of review and review

the assessment, where necessary.

(4) Either party to an application for review may be represented by

Counsel or by an accountant.

(5) The onus of proving that the assessment made by the Commis-

sioner is excessive shall be on the applicant.

(6) The proceedings relating to a review under this section shall be

held in camera.

25. (1) There shall be appointed by the Minister a Sales Tax Appeal

Board (hereinafter called the “Board”) to hear and determine, pursuant to

this Act, objections against assessments made in accordance with this

Act.

(2) The Board shall consist of three persons one of whom shall be a

person who holds or has held office in the Public Service with experience in

accountancy, law or other related disciplines.

(3) The Board so appointed may act by any two of its number, and by

that number shall form a quorum.

Appointment and

functions of the

Sales Tax Appeal

Board.

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(4) It shall not be necessary or compulsory, unless otherwise consid-

ered expedient, to make a temporary appointment to the Board during the

absence on leave of any one member of the Board.

(5) Wherever by this Act or any other Act or statutory instrument

relating to tax a discretion is conferred on the Commissioner, that discre-

tion may be exercised on an objection made against an assessment by the

Appeal Board, and, on an appeal under section 27, by the Supreme Court.

26. (1) Any person assessed, who is aggrieved by the decision of the

Commissioner on review under the provisions of section 24 may appeal

in writing, setting out the grounds of his appeal, to the Board appointed

under section 25 of this Act.

(2) All appeals to the Board under this section shall be heard, as far

as practicable, within a period not exceeding ninety days of the notice of

appeal.

(3) On an appeal against an assessment made to the Board, the onus

of proving that the assessment complained of is excessive shall be on the

appellant.

(4) On receipt of a notice of appeal, a meeting of the Board shall be

summoned to hear the appeal of the person assessed, and the Board may:-

(a) require the person assessed and the Commissioner

to furnish such particulars as the Board may think

necessary in order to ascertain the tax liability;

(b) require the person assessed and the Commissioner

to produce all books or other documents in their cus-

tody or under their control relating to such tax liabil-

ity;

Appeals to the

Sales Tax Appeal

Board.

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(c) summon any person whom the Board thinks is able to

give evidence respecting the assessment to attend be-

fore the Board;

(d) examine either on oath or otherwise the person as-

sessed, the Commissioner and any other person at-

tending before them (except the clerk, agent or other

person confidentially employed in the affairs of the

person assessed) by whom evidence is to be given.

(5) When the Board has heard the appeal and determined the amount

of tax payable, any necessary amendment shall be made in the amount as-

sessed by the Commissioner, reducing it by the amount overcharged or

increasing it by the amount undercharged and notice of the amount of tax, if

any, payable shall be served upon the person assessed and that amount of

tax shall, subject to section 27 (1), be the tax payable or refundable. The

Board shall have the power to add interest to any amount determined by it

to be payable or refundable.

(6) Subject to subsection (7), the notice of appeal to be sent under

subsection (1) shall be sent within twenty-one days from the date of service

of the notification of the amount of the assessment sent by the Commis-

sioner.

(7) Where owing to absence from the country, sickness or other rea-

sonable cause, the Board is satisfied on an application to that effect made

by a person wishing to appeal against an assessment that such person was

unable within the time mentioned in subsection (1) of section 24 to make

his application to the Commissioner for a review or revision of the assess-

ment, or that having made such an application he was unable within the time

mentioned in subsection (6) of this section to serve a notice of appeal on

Sales TaxCAP. 63]

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the Board, the Board, by notice in writing to such person and to the

Commissioner, may grant such extension of time as the Board considers

reasonable in the circumstances.

27.-(1) Where either the Commissioner or the person whose objection

has been determined by the Board is dissatisfied with the decision of the

Board on the ground that the decision was erroneous on a point of law, he

may appeal to the Supreme Court (hereinafter referred to as “the Court”)

to hear and determine any question of law arising on the appeal and the

decision of the Board, upon giving notice in writing to the other party to

the proceedings before the Board within thirty days from the date of the

decision of the Board.

(2) Notwithstanding the lapse of such period of thirty days, any

person may appeal against the said assessment if he shows to the

satisfaction of the Court that, owing to absence from the country, sick-

ness or other reasonable cause, he was prevented from giving notice of

appeal within such period and that there has been no unreasonable delay

on his part.

(3) Any person who appeals against an assessment shall attend be-

fore the Court in person or through an attorney-at-law on the day and at

the time fixed for the hearing of his appeal.

(4) If it be proved to the satisfaction of the Court that, owing to the

absence from Belize, sickness, or other reasonable cause, any person is

prevented from attending in person at the hearing of his appeal on the day

and at the time fixed for that purpose, the Court may postpone the hearing

of the appeal for such reasonable time as it thinks necessary for the atten-

dance of the appellant, or it may admit the appeal to be made by any

agent, clerk, or servant of the appellant, on his behalf.

Appeals to the

Supreme Court.

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(5) Ten clear days’ notice shall, unless rules made hereunder other-

wise provide, be given to the appellant and the respondent of the date fixed

for the hearing of the appeal.

(6) The onus of proving that the assessment or any part thereof is

excessive shall be on the appellant.

(7) Where the Court is satisfied that the appellant is overcharged, it

may reduce the amount of the assessment by the amount of the overcharge,

and if satisfied that the appellant is undercharged, it may increase the amount

of the assessment by the amount of the undercharge.

(8) Notice of the amount of tax payable under the assessment as de-

termined by the Court shall be served by the Commissioner upon the ap-

pellant.

(9) All appeals under this section shall be heard by a judge of the

Supreme Court sitting in Chambers.

(10) The cost of the appeal shall be in the discretion of the judge

hearing the appeal, and shall be a sum fixed by the judge.

(11) The Chief Justice may make rules governing such appeals and

providing for the method of tendering evidence.

28. An application for review by the Commissioner under Section 24, or

for an appeal to the Board or the Supreme Court under Sections 26 and

27 shall not be entertained or heard unless and until the appellant has

paid to the Commissioner the full amount of tax which is the subject of

the appeal or review.

Security for

appeals.

Sales TaxCAP. 63]

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PART VI

Accounts

29. (1) A sales tax agent supplying goods or providing services on or

after the appointed day shall, at the time when the supply or provision

takes place, give the recipient a tax invoice in respect of the supply or

provision in accordance with subsection (2) or as may otherwise be specified

by regulations made under this Act.

(2) A tax invoice under this subsection shall include:-

(a) the words “tax invoice” shown conspicuously thereon;

(b) an identifying serial number and the date on which the

tax invoice was given;

(c) the name, address, and registration number of the sales

tax agent;

(d) the name and address of the recipient;

(e) a description of the goods or services supplied, in-

cluding the quantity of goods or the number of ser-

vices supplied;

(f) the consideration for the supply or provision, not in-

cluding tax;

(g) the value of the supply or provision;

(h) the rate of tax applicable to the supply or provision

Tax invoice.

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and the amount claimed from the recipient in respect of

tax;

(i) where the recipient is a goods sales tax agent or an

exempt sales tax agent, the tax exemption number of

the agent; and

(j) such other particulars, if any, as are required by regu-

lations.

(3) A person who contravenes subsection (l) commits an offence and

is liable on summary conviction to a fine which shall not be less than five

thousand dollars nor more than ten thousand dollars, or to imprisonment

for a term not exceeding two years.

30. (1) Every sales tax agent shall keep, at his principal place of business

in Belize, or at such other place as the Commissioner may approve, or as

required by regulation, such books and records, expressed in the English

language and the currency of Belize, as are appropriate to enable the Com-

missioner to ascertain the liability of that person to tax, or the details of tax

exemptions, or both, as the case may be.

(2) The regulations under subsection (1) may make provisions as to

what books and records are required to be kept, and the manner in which

they are to be kept.

(3) Without limiting subsection (2), the records required by subsec-

tion (1) to be kept shall include tax invoices received by him and copies of

tax invoices issued by him, custom entries and export documents.

(4) A person required by subsection (1) to keep books and records

shall, whether or not he continues to be registered, retain in Belize those

books and records for not less than six years after the end of the last tax

Books and

records to be

kept.

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period to which they relate, except that this subsection does not require

the retention of books or records:

(a) where the Commissioner has given notice in writing

that such retention is not required; or

(b) where the person has ceased to exist and the affairs

of the person have been wound up.

(5) A person who contravenes this section commits an offence and is

liable on summary conviction to a fine which shall not be less than five

thousand dollars nor more than ten thousand dollars, or to imprisonment

for a term not exceeding two years.

31. (1) This section applies where a sales tax agent has given a tax

invoice in respect of a supply or provision and thereafter:-

(a) the supply or provision is cancelled;

(b) the consideration for the supply or provision is altered,

whether due to a discount or otherwise; or

(c) the goods or any part of the goods supplied are re-

turned to the supplier.

(2) Where this section applies, the sales tax agent shall give to the

recipient a credit note or a debit note, as the case requires, to adjust the

amount shown on the tax invoices as being in respect of tax to the amount,

if any, that would have been so shown if:-

(a) the cancellation or alteration referred to in subsection

(1) (a) or (b) had taken place before the tax invoice

Credit and Debit

notes.

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was given; or

(b) the goods or services returned had not been supplied,

as the case requires.

(3) A credit note or debit note required by subsection (2) to be

given shall include:-

(a) the words “credit note” or “debit note”, as the case

requires, shown conspicuously thereon;

(b) the name, address and registration number of the sales

tax agent;

(c) the name and address of the recipient;

(d) the date on which the credit note or debit note, as the

case requires, is given;

(e) the identifying number of the tax invoice to which it

relates and the date on which it was given;

(f) the amount shown on the tax invoice as being in re-

spect of tax, the adjusted amount, and the amount of

the credit or debit, as the case requires, that is neces-

sary to make the adjustment; and

(g) a brief explanation of the circumstances giving rise to

the note being given.

(4) A sales tax agent who gives a credit or debit note under this sec-

tion shall, in calculating the amount of tax payable, in respect of the tax

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period in which the note is given, add the amount of any adjustment in a

debit note to, and deduct the amount in adjustment in a credit note to, the

tax charged on goods and services supplied or provided by him during the

tax period.

(5) A sales tax agent shall not give more than one credit or debit note

in respect of the same adjustment but this subsection does not prevent him

from providing a copy, clearly marked to indicate that it is a copy, where

the original of a note has been lost.

(6) A person who contravenes this section commits an offence and is

liable on summary conviction to a fine which shall not be less than five

thousand dollars nor more than ten thousand dollars, or to imprisonment

for a term not exceeding two years.

PART VII

Miscellaneous and Transitional Provisions and Regulations

32. (1) Where

(a) the amount specified by a sales tax agent in a return

as being the amount of tax payable has been calcu-

lated taking into account a supply made by that agent

for a consideration in money; and

(b) all or any of the consideration remains unpaid, de-

spite its having become due and payable and rea-

sonable efforts having been made for its recovery,

and has been written off as a bad debt, the sales tax

agent who furnished the return may, in calculating the

Bad Debts.

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amount of tax payable that is to be specified in the

return for the period in which the amount was written

off or, where a period of twelve months has not then

elapsed since the amount became due and payable,

the first return after that period of twelve months

elapses, deduct the amount of tax included in the pre-

vious return that was attributable to the amount writ-

ten off.

(2) Where an amount in respect of which a deduction has been made

under subsection (1) is wholly or partly recovered by a sales tax agent, that

agent shall include as tax payable in his return for the period during which

the amount is recovered the amount previously deducted or, where only

part of the amount written off is recovered, such proportion of the amount

previously deducted as the amount recovered represents as a proportion

of the amount written off.

33. (1) For the purposes of this section the expression “alteration in the

law” means the coming into force of this Act or any amendment to this Act,

by which -

(a) a supply of goods or services is charged with, or

ceases to be charged with, tax; or

(b) the rate of tax in respect of the supply of goods or

services is increased or reduced.

(2) Where an alteration in the law is made and a sales tax agent has, at

any time, entered into a contract with a non-sales tax agent in respect of the

supply of goods or services, then, unless -

(a) express provision for the exclusion of any such alter-

ation in the law is contained in the contract; or

Effect of changes

in tax on existing

contracts.

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(b) the alteration in the law has been taken into account

in entering into the contract,

every such contract shall be deemed to be modified so that-

(c) where the alteration in the law renders the supply

liable to be charged with tax, or an increased amount

of tax, the sales tax agent may add to the amount

agreed to be paid to him by the recipient the amount

of that tax, or increase in tax, as the case may be;

(d) where the alteration in the law renders the supply no

longer liable to be charged with tax, or liable to be

charged with a reduced amount of tax, the sales tax

agent or the non-sales tax agent may deduct from

the amount agreed to be paid under the contract the

amount of that tax, or reduction in tax, as the case

may be.

34. (1) Where on or before the appointed day, an invoice is given or

payment is made for the supply of goods or services, which are made

available or rendered before the appointed day, no tax shall be payable on

such supply and only that portion of a supply as is made available or ren-

dered after the appointed day shall be subject to tax.

(2) For the purposes of this section, the time of supply of those

goods or services referred to in subsection (1), shall be the time when the

goods are made available or the services rendered.

35. The production of any document under the hand of a member of the

Board or the Commissioner or of any person or persons appointed by

the Board or the Commissioner purporting to be a copy of or extract

from any return or assessment shall in all courts and in all proceedings

Invoices given

and payments

made on or before

appointed day.

Evidence.

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be sufficient evidence of the original, and the production of the original shall

not be necessary, and all courts shall in all proceedings take judicial notice

of the signatures of a member of the Board or the Commissioner or of any

person or persons appointed by the Board or the Commissioner, appended

either to the original document or to such copy or extract thereof.

36. (1) The Commissioner or any officer of his department who has been

authorised by him may, for any purpose related to the administration or

enforcement of this Act, at any reasonable time having regard to the regular

working hours and the related circumstances of the particular business, and

on production of his letter of authorization, enter into any premises or place

where a business is carried on or any property is kept or anything is done in

connection with the business or any books or records are or should be

kept pursuant to this Act and may-

(a) audit or examine the books and records and any ac-

count, voucher, letters, telegram or other document which

relates or may relate to the information that is or should

be in the books or records or to the amount of tax pay-

able under this Act;

(b) examine property described by an inventory or any prop-

erty, process or matter, an examination of which may, in

his opinion, assist in determining the accuracy of an in-

ventory or in ascertaining the information that is or should

be in the books or records or in determining the amount

of tax payable under this Act;

(c) require the owner or manager of the property or busi-

ness and any other person on the premises or place to

give him all reasonable assistance with his audit or ex-

amination either orally or, if he so require, in writing, on

oath or otherwise and, for that purpose, require the

Audit and

ancillary powers.

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owner or manager to attend at the premises or place

with him; and

(d) if during the course of such an audit or examination it

appears to him that there has been a violation of this

Act or a rule made thereunder, seize, take away and

retain any of the records, books, accounts, vouchers,

letters, telegrams and other documents that appear to

be relevant.

(2) Any records, books, accounts, vouchers, letters, telegrams and

other documents that are so seized or taken away shall be returned imme-

diately if on appeal the Board is not satisfied that a violation of the Act

appears to have been committed. (Notwithstanding that no question of

assessment is involved).

(3) An appeal made to the Board against any action by a person

authorised by the Commissioner to conduct an audit or examination under

paragraph (d) of subsection (1) shall be lodged with the Chairman of the

Board within seven days of the date of seizure. The decision of the Board

on this matter shall be final.

(4) The Commissioner may, for any purpose related to the admin-

istration or enforcement of this Act, by not less than seven days notice in

writing require any person to attend before him and give evidence on

oath and to produce on oath all relevant books, letters, accounts,

invoices, statements or other documents in his possession or control.

(5) The Commissioner may, for any purpose related to the adminis-

tration or enforcement of this Act, authorize in writing any officer of his

department when accompanied by a police officer to enter and search, by

force, if necessary, any building, receptacle or place for documents, books,

records or other things which may afford evidence of a violation of this

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Act or of a rule made thereunder and to seize, take away and retain any

such documents, books, records or other things.

(6) Where any book, record or other document has been seized,

examined or produced under this section, the person by whom it was seized

or examined or to whom it was produced may make, or cause to be made,

one or more copies thereof and in any case in which the person to whom

the original document was returned refuses or neglects to produce the original

document in court, after having been required to do so by the Commis-

sioner, a document purporting to be certified by the Commissioner to be a

copy made pursuant to this subsection shall be admissible in evidence and

shall be conclusive evidence of the contents of the original document.

(7) Any person who hinders, molests or in any way interferes with any

person in the exercise of his authority under this section is guilty of an of-

fence.

37. (1) The Commissioner may require any officer in the employment of

the government or any municipality or other public body to supply such

particulars as may be required for the purposes of this Act and which may

be in the possession of such officer.

(2) No officer mentioned in subsection (1) shall by virtue of this sec-

tion be obliged to disclose any particulars as to which he is under any statu-

tory obligation to observe secrecy.

(3) Every sales tax agent or other person when required to do so by

notice from the Commissioner shall within the time limited in the notice,

prepare and deliver a return or returns containing such information as the

Commissioner may think necessary for the purposes of this Act, and the

provisions of this Act with respect to the failure to deliver returns or par-

ticulars in accordance with a notice from the Commissioner shall apply to

any such return or returns.

Official informa-

tion and secrecy.

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(4) Where the sales tax agent or other person is a body of persons

the manager or other principal officer shall be deemed to be the sales tax

agent for the purposes of this section.

(5) Notwithstanding subsections (1) and (3) the Minister may make

rules requiring any sales tax agent to prepare and deliver returns contain-

ing any information required under this Act at such times and in such form

as may be prescribed.

38. (1) Notwithstanding any rule of law or practice to the contrary, it

shall be lawful for the Commissioner to authorise any person to act as

agent for the purpose of detecting corruption or the evasion of tax or the

commission of any other related offence, and the evidence of such a per-

son shall be valid and effectual for all purposes and shall be receivable in

all courts in Belize.

(2) An agent shall not be treated as an accomplice for the purpose of

the law on corroboration.

(3) The fact that a crime has been induced by the activities of an

agent shall not be treated as a mitigating factor on sentence by any court.

39. Any person who contravenes any provision of this Act for which

no specific penalty is provided commits an offence and is liable on

summary conviction to a fine which shall not be less than five thousand

dollars nor more than ten thousand dollars, or to imprisonment for a

term not exceeding two years.

40. (1) The Minister may make regulations prescribing all matters that

are required or permitted by this Act to be prescribed, or are necessary

or convenient to be prescribed, for giving effect to the purposes of this

Act.

Use of agents.

General penalty.

Regulations.

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(2) Without prejudice to the generality of subsection (1) above, such

regulations may provide for -

(a) the collection of tax in respect of goods and services

sales tax agents;

(b) requiring sales tax agents to indicate in a conspicuous

place that the price as shown on goods is inclusive of the

tax;

(c) exempting the tax on capital purchases made by sales

tax agents in the course or furtherance of the production

of final goods or the supply of the service;

(d) prescribing the duties and functions of officers and other

persons appointed or employed under this Act;

(e) prescribing the form of returns to be made, the particu-

lars to be set forth therein, the persons by whom and the

time when or within which such returns are to be made,

and the forms of the assessments, notices, and other

documents referred to in this Act or necessary in order

to give effect thereto;

(f) providing, where there is no provision in this Act or no

sufficient provision in respect of any matter or thing nec-

essary to give effect to this Act, in what manner and form

the deficiency shall be supplied;

(g) providing for such matter as are contemplated by or nec-

essary for giving full effect to the provisions of this Act

and for the due administration thereof.

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(3) All regulations made by the Minister under this section shall be

subject to negative resolution of the House of Representatives.

41. The provisions of this Act shall apply notwithstanding anything to the

contrary contained in the Fiscal Incentives Act.

42. The Comptroller of Customs may, during a threatened disaster alert

or a disaster emergency under the Disaster Preparedness and Response

Act, exempt imported goods from the application of tax under section

13 and section 14 of this Act in any instance where the National

Coordinator certifies that those goods are urgently required for dealing

with the threat or emergency.

43. This Act shall come into force on the first day of April, 1999.

This Act to

prevail over the

Fiscal Incentives

Act.

Exemption from tax

in certain

instances of

emergency. CAP. 145.

10 of 2000.

Commencement.
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