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Bandleaders ‘ambushed’ by BRA

Bandleaders have not escaped the reach of the Barbados Revenue Authority (BRA) as officers today went out to make sure they were all paid up on Value Added Tax (VAT).

The unexpected checks did not go down well with some bandleaders who told Barbados TODAY they felt ambushed just days before Grand Kadooment.

Speaking on condition of anonymity, one outraged leader, who is a veteran in the industry, said the timing was not appropriate.

He said he was approached by BRA officials who questioned him about his VAT payments, and he had received calls from other leaders who voiced frustration as well.

“Everybody calling me telling me about this foolishness. People are calling wanting to know why days before Kadooment they are deciding to come around asking for VAT,” he said.

“But my payments are up to date so I could have showed them.”

Another bandleader, who did not want to be identified, was adamant that “there was no reason to come at this time.”

In a statement issued this evening, the BRA issued a reminder that all bands and their Crop Over events had to be registered with the authority for VAT purposes.

Revenue Commissioner at the BRA, Margaret Sivers, stressed that all complimentary items, such as tickets and costumes, had to be taxed at the standard VAT rate of 17.5 per cent, and should be declared on the filing of VAT returns.

Sivers said promoters also had to pay five per cent of the value of the costumes and tickets printed for events to the BRA within seven days of the staging of an event.

“Promoters should therefore ensure that all VAT filings are up-to-date, and that the necessary arrangements are made to liquidate all outstanding debt before promoting their events,” she advised.

The BRA head also reiterated that promoters had to obtain written permission from the Revenue Commissioner to stage their events.

Sivers reminded that failure to do so could result in a fine of $10,000, imprisonment for two years, or both.



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