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New VAT-free list released

By Carla Bridglal

The Ministry of Trade has released its supplemental list of value added tax (VAT)-free foods.

In a release yesterday, the Ministry added several new items to the original list of broad categories and groupings, first published November 11.

New additions include cakes and muffins; cornmeal; coconut water; soya and meat substitutes; prepared or preserved fish, excluding fish eggs.

The Supplemental Legal Order effecting this measure was signed yesterday by Trade Minister Vasant Bharath, who is acting as Finance Minister.

This new measure will take effect retroactively from Thursday November 15, 2012.

The Supplemental Legal Order on Value Added Tax is in tandem with the initially issued Legal Notice 365 of November 15, 2012, the Ministry said.

But don't pull out your old grocery bills and head back to the supermarket to demand a VAT refund just yet. It is still unclear how this retroactive proclamation will work.

Attempts to contact Bharath for clarification were unsuccessful as calls to his mobile phone went unanswered.

The Ministry of Legal Affairs Consumer Division is also working on assessing the proper redress for price changes on the newly-added items.

The following are the new items on the list:

•Cakes and muffins

whether or not flavoured

or preserved

•Corn meal and corn-

based snacks

•Coconut water

• All spices and season-

ing powders used in food

preparation

•Soya and vegetarian

meat substitutes in any

form used in food prepa-

ration

•All essences and food •Colourings

•Tofu and gluten in any

form used in food prepa-

ration

•All nuts and seeds

•Capers

•Prepared or preserved

Fish excluding fish eggs

•Gelatin in retail packages

•Breadfruit, sweet potato

and cassava chips;

•All sausages

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