Pay up or else

Minister outlines a zero tolerance policy to tax evasion

Describing the level of tax avoidance and its non-payment as epidemic, the Minister of Finance this evening put all currrent and prospective delinquent persons on notice.

Speaking in the House of Assembly on the International Business (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill, Chris Sinckler issued a strong warning, that if needed, he would bring legislation that gives the Barbados Revenue Authority (BRA) more teeth to get the culprits.

Minister of Finance Chris Sinckler
Minister of Finance Chris Sinckler

“There is now rising, almost to a level, an uncomfortable level of tax avoidance and non-payment of taxes in Barbados and it is becoming routine. And we have to let people understand that that is not the basis on which the society can be run,” Sinckler contended.

“And if the issue of issuing tax clearance certificates is raised, I as Minister of Finance, this Cabinet has to hold the position that without ostensibly ill-treating or preventing people from doing the business that they have to do, have to make people understand that they have to pay their fair share of taxes; and that’s the reality,” he added.

“I know that there has been this debate about tax clearance certificates being issued or not being issued by the BRA [Barbados Revenue Authority]. I can say to this Honourable House . . . we have spoken and the BRA is not going to hold up in any certificates.

“I have told them that consistently with the law, as I have been advised, once people pay their taxes, whether it’s land tax or whatever, they should issue the certificates,” the  Minister of Finance said.

“Whoever feels they are holding up and I don’t know that the BRA is holding up anybody, but if they are, I told them that those certificates should be released, so people can get on with their transactions,” Sinckler told the House.

“But I want to make the point though, if it becomes necessary, I am prepared to bring an amendment to this House of Assembly and fight it through, that the Barbados Revenue Authority be given the appropriate authority to ensure that persons . . . that this situation where people believe that they can avoid X tax and do Y business and just go along with it, cannot be done,” he warned.

The Minister contended that Government must give our authorities the requisite powers to ensure that people pay their taxes.

“It is not fair, it is not fair, it cannot be fair that X person will do a land tax transaction for say, $100,000, execute that transaction, take the $100,000 and owe Inland Revenue or VAT $20,000 and refuse to pay it. “I am saying that that cannot be fair or right in this society.”

Sinckler said he told the BRA that whatever powers they have, including having to do audits, then do it.

“If you have to go and check people’s books, check them. If you have to write to people, write to them, if you have to call them in, call them in and where you can legitimately and legally block them, block them,” Sinckler declared.

The bill was passed.


19 Responses to Pay up or else

  1. Eddie Smith
    Eddie Smith July 22, 2014 at 10:50 pm

    It surprises me that the good Minister of Finance doesn’t understand a basic tenet of taxation. Those who refuse to pay what they legitimately owe are EVADING taxes. Those who take advantage of every allowance and loophole to reduce their tax liability are AVOIDING taxes. His presentation seems to be about EVASION and not AVOIDANCE.

    • K Tremaine Gilkes
      K Tremaine Gilkes July 22, 2014 at 11:04 pm

      IKR, was saying the same thing. I know evasion is against the law, avoidance isn’t. What he described is downright evasion.

    • Miguel Carlos Jose Humphrey
      Miguel Carlos Jose Humphrey July 22, 2014 at 11:19 pm

      Isn’t the Gov. Evading to pay the Vat returns owed to countless business and now going on years in some cases ??? Now who calling the kettle black !!

    • Pat Lucas
      Pat Lucas July 23, 2014 at 6:27 am

      Very true Eddie Smith. He probably never took a tax course or try to read a Tax Act.

    • Pat Lucas
      Pat Lucas July 23, 2014 at 6:30 am

      Both Evading and Avoidance is against the law. Evading is considered criminal and avoidance is using loopholes within the written tax law to avoid paying taxes.

  2. Movement of Concerned Citizens
    Movement of Concerned Citizens July 22, 2014 at 11:07 pm

    Chris Sinckler’s daily display of ignorance is simply astounding. #Barbados certainly can do better than this.

  3. Miguel Carlos Jose Humphrey
    Miguel Carlos Jose Humphrey July 22, 2014 at 11:22 pm

    Seems you can wake up 1 morning and make up a tax and bully people to pay it, Hhummm tomorrow I will wake up god willing and start charging and billing the Gov. for forcing me to listen and read foolishness everyday in the public medias

  4. Ricardo Bascombe
    Ricardo Bascombe July 22, 2014 at 11:27 pm

    the government also needs to pay the money owed to peple also ,or else ,last few yrs in office

  5. Cyrilene Whitehall
    Cyrilene Whitehall July 22, 2014 at 11:28 pm

    I just don’t know what going on in my beautiful country any more.

  6. Frederick Alleyne
    Frederick Alleyne July 22, 2014 at 11:42 pm

    I hope the Government pay the people what it owes them and also pays it Solid Waste Tax.

  7. Jacinta Lashley
    Jacinta Lashley July 23, 2014 at 1:03 am

    The debt crisis is globally, time to start taxing street vendors and capitalize on those untaxed dollars.

    Europe Debt Crisis
    Many European countries have been living beyond their means, leading to what is called the sovereign debt crisis-when governments are so heavily indebted that the whole country could go bankrupt. The crisis which began in early 2010 and engulfed Greece has found its latest prey in Italy. The contagion effect from failure of Italy is too big to fathom. With the world economy under stress, BRICS are being looked at to fund the Eurozone bailout. Can the world economy contain the Europe crisis?

  8. Jacinta Lashley
    Jacinta Lashley July 23, 2014 at 1:05 am

    It’s everywhere

    The United States, with an economic freedom score of 75.5, is the 12th freest economy in the 2014 Index. Its score is half a point lower than last year, primarily due to deteriorations in property rights, fiscal freedom, and business freedom. The U.S. is ranked 2nd out of three countries in the North America region, and although its score remains well above the world and regional averages, it is no longer one of the top 10 freest economies.

    Over the 20-year history of the Index, the U.S.’s economic freedom has fluctuated significantly. During the first 10 years, its score rose gradually, and it joined the ranks of the economically “free” in 2006. Since then, it has suffered a dramatic decline of almost 6 points, with particularly large losses in property rights, freedom from corruption, and control of government spending. The U.S. is the only country to have recorded a loss of economic freedom each of the past seven years. The overall U.S. score decline from 1995 to 2014 is 1.2 points, the fourth worst drop among advanced economies.

    Substantial expansion in the size and scope of government, including through new and costly regulations in areas like finance and health care, has contributed significantly to the erosion of U.S. economic freedom. The growth of government has been accompanied by increasing cronyism that has undermined the rule of law and perceptions of fairness.

  9. Mz-Kim Seale
    Mz-Kim Seale July 23, 2014 at 4:24 am

    Stupseee why wunna dont give me my reverse tax credit money….

  10. Sherry Gittens
    Sherry Gittens July 23, 2014 at 5:25 am

    Vat, BWA, Electricity, Income Tax, National Insurance …so many persons business places owed and you as a government ain’t do one thing .the only public thing that has ever been done is to publish NIS names in the paper.

  11. Adrian Loveridge July 23, 2014 at 6:26 am

    Once again this is the absolute height of hypocracy. For 26 years we have paid all Government tax demands ontime and in full, but now we are owed thousands in agreed but unpaid VAT and NIS refunds for well over a year.

  12. Mac10 July 23, 2014 at 9:06 am

    Al Barrack, tax refunds. Pay up or else!!!!

  13. Gregg July 24, 2014 at 2:10 pm

    People please remember we put the politicians there, we put the government there.. we can do something about it…..

    The most solid waste comes out of there people mouths


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