The Surinamese Turnover Tax is not a Value Added Tax (BTW / VAT). It is a sales tax.
Sales tax is levied on:
- the supply of goods in Suriname by entrepreneurs who produced these goods
- the services specified in Appendix 1 to this Act provided by entrepreneurs in Suriname
- the import of goods
|supply of goods||10%|
|services (see appendix 1)||8%|
|import of goods up to and including January 31, 2021||10%|
|import of goods from February 1, 2021||12%|
|import of certain luxury goods (see appendix 3)||25%|
|export of goods||0%|
The goods listed in Appendix 2 are exempt from sales tax.
The sales tax is levied on the remuneration that the entrepreneur receives for the delivery of goods or its services. Remuneration is understood to mean the total amount received in respect of the delivery of goods or the service, excluding the sales tax itself. The sales tax due is levied on the entrepreneur who provides the service or supplies the good. If the service is provided by an entrepreneur not residing or established in Suriname for the benefit of an entrepreneur established in Suriname, the sales tax is levied on the person to whom the service is provided (the reversal rule).
Delivery of goods
The following are regarded as delivery of goods:
- the transfer of ownership of goods under an agreement;
- the delivery of goods under a hire-purchase or financial lease agreement
- the delivery of goods by the entrepreneur who manufactured the goods;
- the transfer of ownership of goods that are the subject of an agreement to affix those goods to another good
- the possession of goods for other than business purposes, as a result of which the goods leave the business assets of the manufacturer.
Deduction of sales tax
If a manufacturer is charged sales tax in the context of his company, he can in certain cases deduct this sales tax from the sales tax he owes himself. The deduction is limited to the sales tax paid by the manufacturer on the (import of) goods and taxed services directly related to the production. The last word has not yet been said about the interpretation of “direct”. Because the deduction only applies to manufacturers, it sometimes happens in the service sector that sales tax is paid on sales tax. Adequate planning is therefore important.
Declaration and payment
The sales tax is due at the time the (partial) remuneration is received from the client. The sales tax return must be submitted no later than the 15 (fifteenth) day of the month following the period of the return. Payment of the sales tax due must be made simultaneously on the day that the turnover tax return is submitted.
The sales tax levy is split into a domestic levy and an import levy. Import is the release of goods for free movement. The purpose of this provision is to make sure that as far as imports are concerned, the technical content of the concept of “free movement” is linked to customs. The sales tax is based on a levy on the value of the goods at the time of the customs technical import. The value at import is determined based on the rules included in the customs law. The value determined in this way is increased by the other taxes that are due on the import. Because the law refers to the customs law for the determination of the customs value, the entire system included in that law applies. The procedure in which there is a disagreement about the value of the goods between the Customs Inspector o(the Inspector responsible for levying sales tax on import) and the importer, also applies accordingly. In principle, the levying of sales tax is fully linked to the provisions that apply to the levying of import duties. These provisions are included in the Shipping Act and in the Rate of Import duties Act 1996. The sales tax is calculated based on the import declaration and that which is found during verification and visitation. This means, among other things, that the sales tax is not due as long as the goods are technically still in the bonded warehouse from a customs point of view.
The rate of sales tax for the delivery of goods that will be exported as part of their delivery is 0%. Please note, only for the export of goods, the sales tax is 0%. If a Surinamese service provider provides a service within the meaning of the Sales Tax Act on export, for example transport, then a sales tax of 8% must be charged.
The sales tax is exempt if there is an exemption from import duties on the basis of:
- Tariff of Import Duty Act 1996
- Raw Materials Decree
- Investment Act
- Banking law
- Petroleum Act
Appendix 1 Sales Tax Act 1997 – taxable services:
- Indemnity insurance, with the exclusion of health insurance.
- The services performed by banks and other financial institutions, service providers and other service institutions with regard to:
- The contracting of loans with the exclusion of loans within the framework of production.
- The contracting of mortgages.
- The transfer of money regarding foreign transactions.
- The safe keeping of securities and other negotiable instruments.
- The services provided by civil-law notaries as well as by persons practicing a free profession, including attorneys, accountants, automation, information, and other consultancy services. Excluded are the free professions in the medical sector such as medical doctors, dentists and physiotherapists and other medical service providers.
- The services provided by advertising agencies, as well as publishing commercials and advertisements via television, radio, newspapers, and other general publications.
- The services provided by architects and land surveyors.
- The services provided by real estate agents when selling and renting out real estate.
- The services provided within the context of the transportation of goods.
- The services provided within the context of guarding buildings, goods, and persons.
- The services provided by cleaning companies.
- The services provided in the context of making moveable property available.
- The provision of accommodation, food, and drinks in and by the hotel and catering industry.
- The services provided by travel agents.
- The organization of tourist activities.
- The services provided within the context of national and international telecommunication.
- Hairdressers, beauty parlours, massage parlours and related services.
- The services provided within the context of the transportation of persons with aero planes.
- The services provided by repairmen.
- The services provided by driving schools.
- The services provided by installers.
- The services provided by taxi drivers.
- The services provided by radio and television stations.
- The services provided by car body repair and paint shops.
- The services provided within the framework of service and maintenance activities.
- The services provided within the framework of providing parking spaces.
- The services provided by advertising agencies and advertisements of daily newspapers and evening newspapers as well as other periodical publications.
APPENDIX 2, Sales Tax Act – exempt goods
- peanut butter
- Butter / margarine
- Sardines in oil or tomato sauce
- Smoked herring
- Cod and salted fish
- Fresh meat (chicken, pork and beef)
- Fresh fish
- Fresh fruits and vegetables
- Bread and bread rusks
- Wheat and wheat flour
- Cocoa powder
- Brown sugar
- White sugar
- Milk and powdered milk
- Tomato paste
- Edible oil
- Fresh potatoes
- Salt meat
- Red onions
- White onions
- Brown and white beans
- Yellow and green peas
- Bananas, strawberry fruits, roots and tubers
- Spices intended for the preparation of curry
- Rice and rice products
- Mosquito candle
- Toilet paper
- Bath soap
- Household soap/powder soap
- Baby food
- Sanitary towels and tampons
- Diapers and diapers for babies
- Medicines, bandages, medical devices, medical devices
- Diesel oil
- Electric energy and cooking gas
- Textiles for the manufacture of mosquito nets
- Lamp petroleum
- Teaching aids, school supplies, school uniforms
APPENDIX 3, Sales Tax Act – 25% rate
- Car and other motor vehicles primarily designed for the carriage of passengers with a capacity greater than 2000 cc and having a CIF value of US $ 25,000 or more
- Speedboats, watercraft, yachts, sports and other pleasure craft
- Video cameras
- Slot and gaming machines
- Television sets over 31 inches
- Satellite-oriented dishes and antennas
- Weapons, ammunition, parts, and accessories thereof