Private schools lobbying govt about VAT on private education

Last Updated on Saturday, 18 February 2017, 5:53 by Denis Chabrol

A number of private schools are “Private charter schools,” and so they do not pay taxes, Minister of State, Joseph Harmon explained during a Post- Cabinet press briefing today.

Questioned about the impact of levying of 14 percent Value Added Tax (VAT) on education, and about claims of drop outs, Minister Harmon said that,“I do not have the figures, I cannot comment beyond that, but what I can say in fact, it did attract the attention of Cabinet and Minister (Winston) Jordan will come out with a statement on the matter soon,” the Government Information Agency (GINA) quoted Harmon as saying.

Another question was put to the Minister with regards students in the scholarship programmes at private schools being affected since the 14 percent VAT implementation. Minister Harmon stated that he has seen some letters by private schools and Cabinet is currently discussing the matter.

The Ministry of Finance will soon come out with some information on private schools and payment of VAT which, “basically will lay the case on the table, but it is my belief, it is in the implementation of these measures that people try to put pressure on you by saying so many persons drop out and so on,” Minister of the State explained.

Recently Minister of Finance Winston Jordan said “VAT is not a cure for social ills; it is first and foremost a fiscal tool. We are aiming to reduce VAT, but in doing so, we will seek to broaden the base as wide as possible. There is no VAT on public education it remains a choice of the parent. Government is not making that choice for them.”

Dr Brian O’ Toole, Director of the School of the Nations, a private school proprietor, has since written letters against the implementation of the 14 percent VAT. Also petitions are currently ongoing in several private schools for the 14 per cent VAT to be lesse