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Tax Bite

Sinckler issues fresh warning to delinquents

Minister of Finance Chris Sinckler has issued a stern warning to individuals and companies guilty of failing to pay their fair share of taxes that their days are numbered.

Sinckler could not immediately say how many defaulters there were, or how much was owed to the Barbados Revenue Authority (BRA), but he said it was a “substantial” amount.

He conceded that some of the debt preceded the establishment of the BRA in 2014 and would likely be written off, adding that the revenue agency was working on a formula.

“That is the process they are going through now. As they do their various audits and reviews they are looking to see from which year they can say ‘this is the year that we will just use as the baseline and anything that falls behind that, we will waive and anything going forward we will go after’. So that is what they are working on and I presume they will come up with something very shortly,” said Sinckler.

He promised that the tax collection agency would be given more power to go after those guilty of not paying their fair share of taxes and that it was being strengthened with highly skilled staff, as well as more manpower.

“We are going to be strengthening the laws, which we are moving to do, and put it on a [stronger] footing now . . . I know there is going to be resistance, a lot of resistance,” said Sinckler, pointing out that there were those who did not even bother to file their returns.

Singling out professionals, Sinckler said there were some who believed that they should not pay taxes, while others simply refused to pay. But he warned that “soon enough it will all come out, how many are not paying”.

He also hinted at legislative and procedural changes to make it easier to go after defaulters and to get them to pay.

“If the current legislation or the current law does not take care of that, if the court system is not moving fast enough to prosecute people when they are taken there then we have to find other methods to ensure that people pay their fair share.”

However, the Minister refused to be drawn into discussion on when the delinquents could expect an announcement on the measures that would be taken against them, insisting he had no authority to instruct the BRA and that it was entirely up to the state agency.

Nevertheless, he said he did not intend for the agency to name and shame anyone in its attempt to get them to file and pay their taxes.

“Because that is when I think it deteriorates, when you got to be publishing somebody’s name in the paper that they didn’t pay tax. You don’t want to get to that stage. And I know the agencies have been very restrained. I know the Land Tax Department has been restrained in terms of selling people’s properties, but why do you want to force people into the position where they have to do that when you can just go and comply? Just comply, file.”

And he suggested that those who had difficulty meeting the payments should meet with BRA officials and work out a payment plan.

3 Responses to Tax Bite

  1. dave December 8, 2015 at 3:16 am

    There are a lot of so-called ‘society” people who feel that they should not pay taxes. There are those of a certain hue who feel that they should not pay taxes and then there is the poor who feel that they should not pay either. You are left with those in the middle who are left to fiddle and bear the brunt. The middle needs an ease -at least -the lower middle. I support the Govt in going after those who refuse to pay taxes. A lot of people take money for services and do not issue appropriate receipts and some of these same people owe the Student Revolving Loan Scheme and would not pay. Some owe Vat amounts up to 25 million and would not pay. this is DISHONEST -but they dont care. Yet they want Big House – swimming pool -Jacuzzi and Mercedes; women in abundance and trips overseas

  2. jrsmith December 8, 2015 at 9:41 am

    Well done, to Minister Sinckler, providing he goes after everyone, stop this them and us favouritism. We the people who genuinely pay taxes, disagree , that they should be any reprieve for tax avoidance, which also mean they are not paying the VAT at all. In countries where bajans reside, the penalty, for tax avoidance is jail term , the same for VAT fraud.

    Persons and businesses who are eligible to pay taxes, should be ask to submit, from 2012, , forget taking people to court, deploy a set of sheriffs/bailiffs to seize, from the defaulters premises what ever to pay the tax bill.

    The minister seems to making comments, not naming and shaming persons/companies, thinking he may loose friends, but that’s the problem with our crooked ,scheming rich people, he has got to show , his authority, his honesty, his determination, not be accused of corruption , with the upper part of Barbados society. the minister ,just need to get on with this clean, up,

    A lot of people is not going to like it so what, they couldn’t live, in Canada, The UK, or the USA, or any European country without paying taxes. it shows how dishonest lots of people are , if they don’t pay let Bajans know , let it to the media. this is , why the Europeans and the US , is still Barbados as being a tax haven, and all the ,selfish defaulters end up smiling.

    We are on our way to become (Greece ) of the Caribbean, joining many others in the region, teaming up with the others islands, would be very rewarding..

  3. Alex Alleyne December 8, 2015 at 10:44 am

    This saying is still alive and well. Two things in life you are sure of, “TAXES and DEATH”.
    In some countries if you are caught not paying you fair share of TAXES , you go to JAIL or even lose your business and/or house.
    People all, BARBADOS has arrived so get in line and do the right thing.


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