BRA going after tax defaulters
Government’s revenue collection agency has had it with persons and companies who do not pay their taxes, and is preparing to take legal action against them.
Minister of Finance Chris Sinckler said the Barbados Revenue Authority (BRA) has been having “a fight” on it hands getting corporations to pay their “fair share” of taxes.
Sinckler said the tax agency had been “clamping down” on the defaulters but hinted that it needed to do more.
He said his ministry and the BRA were due to discuss the matter, following which a decision would be made on whether the state agency would take it a step further and “actually [be] pursing legal options to deal with this matter”.
“Every time we try to do something somebody say it is unconstitutional . . . my view is that we should test them because the only body who can determine the constitutionality of any measure is the court. But be that as it may, the BRA has been dealing with the matter, they have been really clamping down on a lot of lax practices that have developed in Barbados in relation to people paying taxes,” said Sinckler.
The minister told journalists on the sidelines of yesterday’s launch of Scotiabank’s 60th anniversary celebrations that people who were critical of Government for being late on payments of tax refunds must understand that those refunds were only paid when there was money coming into the Treasury.
“Everybody wants back their tax return, everybody wants the economy to have a lot of money in terms of revenue to do all the things we need to do and that is okay. However, we also have to know that if people do not pay their taxes then you are going to have challenges.
“We don’t want people to have to pay more than they should but we want them to pay their fair share. And if everybody pays their fair share the rates can go down because we have enough going on in Barbados. We have a big enough economy. I believe that once the tax administration in right and the compliance rate is high enough we should be able to raise enough revenue to do the things that we need to do. Basically that is just how it is,” he said.
He could not immediately say how much was owned to the BRA in unpaid taxes or how many people owed the tax collection agency.
However, Sinckler said the agency had paid out a total of about $170 million in refunds between April last year and February this year for income year 2014, the majority of which were income tax refunds. (MM)