Sinckler tells promoters he will no longer tolerate their abuse of the VAT

Minister of Finance Chris Sinckler says the Value Added Tax (VAT) system has been subjected to “major abuses” by both unscrupulous promoters and some corporate sponsors over the years and he has issued a stern warning that Government will no longer be affording them any free pass.

Responding to concerns raised this week by some promoters over the Barbados Revenue Authority’s (BRA) enforcement of the 17.5 per cent VAT on complimentary tickets, Sinckler pointed out that the policy was by no means new.

Minister of Finance Chris Sinckler
Minister of Finance Chris Sinckler

However, he said promoters, who were initially granted an ease by the VAT office, which had not been strictly enforcing the rule as a sort of “developmental tool”, had turned around and abused the system to the point where tax avoidance had become “quite widespread” and Government was no longer willing to tolerate it.

In fact, Sinckler has sought to caution promoters that there was no such thing as a free ticket, especially when it comes to the payment of VAT.

“The Value Added Tax does not discriminate between what is a free ticket and what is a complimentary  ticket,” he warned, while reminding promoters that “each ticket attracts VAT”.

He said while BRA was not intent on disrupting the promotion and development of the cultural industries, some level of discipline had to be brought to the system, while noting that in some instances promoters had declared as much as half of their tickets as complimentaries, as a means of escaping payment of their fair share of taxes.

“Now we know that cannot be the case because you are not putting on a show to make a loss, unless it is a free concert or something like that,” the Minister of Finance pointed out.

“You are not going to invest that type of money and then come and tell me that you printed 3,000 tickets and 1,500 or 1,700 are complimentaries that you are giving away,” he stressed.

In further detailing the problems of abuse, Sinckler said some promoters were also in the habit of declaring tickets as complimentaries and then turning around and selling them.

The Minister of Finance further explained that some corporate sponsors had also been taking advantage of the system by claiming for amounts they received in the form of complimentary tickets on their income tax returns, even though they were aware that the tickets had not been subjected to VAT.

  “It may be a situation where a fellow says, ‘I’m going to give you 100,000 dollars [and] I want 50 or 100 tickets complimentary to give to staff and associates or what the case may be.

“Now some of those companies, through their corporate tax returns, claim, as part of their marketing budget, some of those sponsorships,” Sinckler explained to Barbados TODAY.

“So they get to claim back, they get the free ticket, they get the advertising, the promoter gets the money and the Government gets nothing,” he added.

However, now that BRA has been established “with a remit to ensure that it plugs all of these holes and does more collection of Government revenue”, Sinckler said “they have been focusing on these things”.

He noted that since July notifications had been sent out by the revenue authority to the promoters reminding them of the need to meet their VAT obligations and he warned that the policy would not be rolled back.

The Minister of Finance also responded to concerns raised by some promoters that the National Cultural Foundation had been exempted from paying the 17.5 per cent VAT                           on complimentaries.

However, he said he was not aware that was the case.

He suggested that it may instead be a situation of “an in and out” where central government was giving as subsidy or a transfer in exchange for complimentary tickets from the NCF.

BTwin a honda

14 Responses to PLUG PULLED

  1. Cheryl A Rollins
    Cheryl A Rollins November 15, 2014 at 3:12 am

    Look at the pot calling the kettle black. This is a prime example of Monkey see, Monkey do! Smfh

  2. Tony Webster November 15, 2014 at 5:55 am

    @Cheryl R. Lady, why do you tek the words offa de tip of my tongue? The seed doan fall far from de tree, yeh! Truth is, we all know that the “sytem”…is like a beautiful woman, who got rotten teets. The solution is not that she shouldn’t smile…we got to pull ALL dem rotten teets, and give her back her pride. Barbados was beautiful; Barbados can be beautiful again, from de inside out. We could nuse a good dentist/ othopaedic surgeon, but really, it too dread for for tinkering at the edges. Just give us a leader.
    As in L-E-A-D-E-R-S-H-I-P. Wid this an a lil Bajan Christian gumption, we WILL clean de house, from de top, to de bottom. And we shall regain our smile…and our pride.

  3. Peter Marshall
    Peter Marshall November 15, 2014 at 6:24 am

    The Minister is absolutely right on this issue

  4. John Herbert
    John Herbert November 15, 2014 at 6:52 am

    Bang on…this nonsense has been going on for far too long!

  5. Kimberley Gaskin
    Kimberley Gaskin November 15, 2014 at 6:53 am

    While I agree that there are many entities who try to escape the payment to VAT, my question is this…. Complementary suggests that it is an invitational ticket, the same persons who are now going to enforce these “existing” rules are the first ones to receive complementary tickets as I guess a measure of good will. Who then will bear this cost? Will the persons who are slated to receive these comp tickets now pay the 17.5% or do they expect the promoters/sponsors to absorb this cost?

  6. Cumberbatch Sophia
    Cumberbatch Sophia November 15, 2014 at 7:28 am

    If I was the promoter I wouldn’t give wunna one free ticket and wunna still would give my husband he income tax return talking bout revenues down.If wunna stop buying fancy expensive cars, flying all over the place and in general doing nothing he would be able to pay the people dem taxes.

  7. Tonia Husbands November 15, 2014 at 7:55 am

    As a small promoter of a pageant who attracts on average 800 people this is not good for me. I give complimentaries to sponsors as a thank you for their contribution to my pageant. It should not be a case that peter pay for paul so paul should pay for all. So what the Minister is saying then that if I am fortunate enough to get Corporate Barbados to sponsor my competition they must pay to see it as well? I was only made aware of this new measure after another pageant promoter informed me as that person saw it on Facebook. I never received a letter so now as a small promoter of a pageant I must pay Vat on tickets that I gave as appreciation but never received any money for them.

    How can compare small promoters with those who attract thousands of people than for those who only attract hundreds. Many of us operate at a lost or barely break even. This system will soon eradicate us all when many of the stores generate revenue when shows are being held.

  8. Tonia Husbands
    Tonia Husbands November 15, 2014 at 8:06 am

    It is not the issue of paying taxes it is the fact that all promoters are not the same.

    I am a pageant promoter and I gave complimentaries to my sponsors as an appreciation for their contribution. I have never sold complimentaries.

    How can I be compared to promoters with big budgets or that attract thousands when I attract hundreds. I was never informed on declaration of my tickets to Vat about this new measure. I heard in on Facebook. Now I must pay Vat on tickets I gave out of appreciation?

    So that means next time when I solicit sponsorship I must include the tickets as well for the sponsor to cover.

    I have no issue with paying VAT but peter should not pay for paul and paul pay for all.

    Promoters of all events should be assisted as many stores whether it be clothes, shoes or hair attract persons when events are held.

    All I can do is sighhhhhh

  9. Colin Reid
    Colin Reid November 15, 2014 at 9:27 am

    Although some of the comments herein are a bit drastic; I am delighted to see Barbadians publicly speaking out instead of murmuring behind closed doors and aliases on call in programs.

    Government (be it DLP or BLP) needs to treat the people of Barbados with respect and dignity…. and stop trying to pull the wool over our eyes. Only then, will we/Barbadians become appreciative of the hard decisions and policies that government has to implement.

    For any government to be successful, they must have to support of the people and establish a level of calm/comfort amongst it’s people. This concerns me deeply as everywhere I go, people are up in arms. If this continues to go unchecked without a structured PR and sensitization programme, I am fearful of the enviable and may God help us all.

  10. Pauline bobb November 15, 2014 at 9:36 am

    I would like him to tell the balan public what really going on with the thirteen hun oh sorry six fifty we’re suppose to be getting that is what. !!!!

  11. jr smith November 15, 2014 at 2:35 pm

    Not only in Barbados, this avoidance takes place, in the UK as well , the difference ,you get jail term for VAT conspiracy, its fraud .
    This is where , everything starts to become corrupt, them and us.

  12. ryan dan November 16, 2014 at 8:40 am

    I cant wait till.election day mia my vote is yours sick.a this tax heaven bim and d dlp

  13. Kendacy lewis November 16, 2014 at 10:07 am

    These people are not leaders they are followers…….it’s always about what de US, UK and so on is doing be original, unique….and for that Sinckler, Stuart and Michael they are de most egotistic, arrogant, bossy and the list goes on. These people need to be reminded who put them there and who they are working for not de other way around.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *