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By Aabigayle Mcintosh
Restaurants and other businesses are being encouraged to list the cost of items that are available on their shelves, inclusive of the 17% Antigua and Barbuda Sales Tax (ABST)
Orin Steele, Director of Prices and Consumer Affairs, said that doing so eases confusion, adding that no consumer should be paid twice for an item even if it is the Antigua and Barbuda sales tax.
The 2% increase in the AVST came into effect on 1st January 2024.
“They are expected to include the ABST in their prices because I know just even last month at least two persons called regarding that, that they went to a particular restaurant and the price is $50 for chicken pasta.”
“They just assumed that they had to pay the 10% which is actually correct for the service charge if they charge a service charge but this business was displaying the prices without the ABSD included in the price.”
Store owners are being advised to include the ABST and no private in their final pricing.
“Do not exclude it and then charge the consumers at the end because nobody is supposed to be paying anything outside of us. Any price displayed should include the ABST already, included in the price as well.” Steele said.
The increase in the ABST applies to goods and services.
Steel told state television the price changes in products are proving challenging for businesses in the initial stages instances, they may have to employ additional manpower to avoid conflicting prices of the products on the shelves and the information contained in their data systems.
“I know for sure we got a lot of calls from various stakeholders and some businesses are having challenges in terms of they would have changed the prices in the system, but they don’t have the manpower to change all the items on the shelf.
“I think that is going to pose a challenge for some of the consumers, at least maybe for this week, at least, and even for some of their businesses. They’re having a challenge to go and update all of it. Even one business person would have indicated to us that they are going to wait until they have the manpower to change all because they don’t want to get into the back of what would a consumer, according to Hill.
The government is also reminding the citizenry that several items are zero-rated and will not attract the ABST.
They are most fruits and vegetables to include but are not limited to bananas, oranges, grapes, potatoes, broccoli, cauliflower and lettuce. Baby products, dry goods and oils to include pasta, sugar, cornmeal, flour, rice and cooking oils, chicken, fish, locally produced meats, eggs, canned sardines and tuna, bread, cereals, and milk, water, medicine, pharmaceutical supplies and adult diapers. Additionally, and milk, water, medicine, pharmaceutical supplies and adult diapers. Additionally, the exemptions extend to supplies for use in the agricultural and fisheries sectors.