Returns still coming in cash, assures Sinckler
Government is still working to send out income tax returns and cannot force any taxpayer to accept a tax certificate in lieu of cash owed to them.
Minister of Finance Chris Sinckler made that clear this evening in an interview with Barbados TODAY as he sought to clarify statements he made recently on the payment of the $80 million in income tax returns due this year.
“This whole hysteria that I am up here designing some tax certificate and people are not going to get their money and they are going to have to take a tax certificate is not true,” he said, stressing that any non-cash option could not be mandatory but would have to be attractive enough to encourage people to utilize it.
“You cannot force somebody to take a tax certificate if they don’t want it, because the law is clear.”
The Minister said Government continued to weigh its options but it had not yet reached the stage of issuing any tax certificates instead of cash.
“We are monitoring the situation and seeing how it is developing and, of course, preparing ourselves so that if and when we have to respond, we can respond appropriately,” he said.
Sinckler stressed, however, that Government was still focused on paying out as much as it could in cash.
At the same time, he pointed out, interest had been accumulating on that figure since November 1, explaining that “if the pace of payment cannot be quick enough to ensure that you do not have to pay out a whole lot of interest, you would have to find some other instrument, or have a different solution to ensure that people get their resources in a timely fashion, and that the cost to Government, in terms of the charge on the revenue, is not is not doubled or tripled as the case may be”.