SBA head: What about our tax returns?

With millions of dollars still owed to businesses and individuals in the form of VAT refunds and income tax returns, concerns have been raised that today’s ministerial statement did not address the issue.

In presenting the statement in Parliament today, Minister of Finance Chris Sinckler announced that Government had decided to offer “a short term amnesty to all taxpayers across all tax categories on the interest and penalty accrued on taxes owed at December 31, 2014”.

He said access to this facility would be on the basis that the taxpayer pays the total outstanding principal owed to the Barbados Revenue Authority (BRA) on or before March 15, 2015.

Sinckler also promised a review of the Municipal Solid Waste Tax.

While welcoming the amnesty and proposed tax review, the Chief Executive Officer of the Small Business Association (SBA) Lynette Holder said she was concerned that “nothing was said in the statement to address the monies owed by Government to small businesses”.

SBA president Lynette Holder
SBA president Lynette Holder

“We have been lobbying and intervening on the part of members relative to outstanding VAT refunds. I have seen documentation where Government owes many small and medium enterprises [as little as] $20, 000 and [as much as] $70,000. I am talking about months in VAT refunds.”

However, she lamented that there no word forthcoming on this “and no effort it would appear to try to bring some relief to the sector and nothing in this statement.

“While we welcome an amnesty that is to those who owe Government, but what about those businesses that Government owe? Nothing!”

The SBA head acknowledged that Government had a cash flow problem.

However, she pointed to a programme that was set up to assist small businesses with getting payment for products and services that they provide to Government agencies, saying that a similar facility could be set up to assist with the payments of VAT refunds.

While acknowledging that many businesses owed Government, Holder said she was more concerned that many small enterprises were depending on Government refunds to stay afloat.

“When I look at the Ministerial Statement that is the concern we have. It is a bugbear it is a serious impediment to effective cash flow management and the maintenance at this point of a profitable entity,” she added.

Meanwhile economist Ryan Straughn said it was interesting that Government chose to offer an amnesty for taxpayers but made no reference to the refunds in the statement.

“In a situation like this, you really shouldn’t have an amnesty because any tax that you may owe to the Government should be offset against anything that they owe you. So the truth is that the concept of an amnesty really doesn’t make a lot of sense unless it is the case that they are of the firm belief that people owe them substantially more than they owe people, which at this point is questionable,” said Straughn, who felt it was “unreasonable” for the Government to expect people to pay their taxes when it was not meeting its financial commitments to them.

“It is a concern and he [Sinckler] should have provided some reasonable response to that, and the truth is that he didn’t, other than to admit that the programme is not working.

“That is the biggest reflection of it. I think that again when it comes to the ability to plan, if you are not getting your income tax refund for 2014 in as timely a manner as possible, and you are saying that [the revenue measures are] going to continue beyond April 2015 –  and he did say that the budget is going to come in April, which doesn’t make sense – but if the budget comes in April, it means then there may be new taxes given the talk about widening the base on certain things. It is disappointing,” added Straughn.

marlonmadden@barbadstoday.bb

20 Responses to SBA head: What about our tax returns?

  1. PhatKat Kalonji
    PhatKat Kalonji December 17, 2014 at 5:27 am

    Smh

    Reply
  2. Leeann Jordan
    Leeann Jordan December 17, 2014 at 5:52 am

    very disappoint statement indeed

    Reply
    • Gail-Selina S. Hewitt-Clarke
      Gail-Selina S. Hewitt-Clarke December 17, 2014 at 7:29 am

      Yep, that is why it was a statement. He didn’t want anyone to debate him. Wow!!

      Reply
    • Leeann Jordan
      Leeann Jordan December 17, 2014 at 8:35 am

      It’s true….but I’m wondering here of late if they believe that after educating us that we still have scales over our eyes to certain things

      Reply
    • Gail-Selina S. Hewitt-Clarke
      Gail-Selina S. Hewitt-Clarke December 17, 2014 at 12:59 pm

      Well Leeann, I read an article last week where these 2 political experts claimed that Mia had the right ideas but she was afraid that she might not be supported by the masses. But maybe now is a good time to begin to protest!

      Reply
    • Janette Reifer
      Janette Reifer December 17, 2014 at 1:45 pm

      I heard a very strong supporter of the Dems. Cursing out them so terrible yesterday at work, because he has not gotten his income tax return. I couldn’t believe I was hearing correctly, No one could say a word about Dems.

      Reply
    • Janette Reifer
      Janette Reifer December 17, 2014 at 1:46 pm

      Quida Burnham If people are hungry. Tell them eat how make them hungry. Tell them don’t turn on those who have not done them anything.

      Reply
    • Leeann Jordan
      Leeann Jordan December 17, 2014 at 2:19 pm

      Gail I think that you are correct it is time to protest it was time a couple of months ago but now is as much a better time than ever because if you’re telling me that your program to bring barbados but to sustainable growth…you really should not be owning any monies to its citizens or its businesses that have pledged what they were suppose to.

      Reply
  3. Fraser Young
    Fraser Young December 17, 2014 at 6:36 am

    All processed but no money to pay. To use the analogy of a ship the rats have all run away(the bankers) and the ship is sinking fast the only question is does any Bajan have anything besides talk or will everyone be talking as the ship goes down?

    Reply
  4. Cisco Wolf
    Cisco Wolf December 17, 2014 at 6:53 am

    Time to file again. Better file by the deadline or else, penalties!

    Reply
  5. Cisco Wolf
    Cisco Wolf December 17, 2014 at 6:53 am

    Time to file again. Better file by the deadline or else, penalties!

    Reply
  6. Harry Turnover December 17, 2014 at 7:32 am

    Everything is being done to make sure that NOTHING gets in the way of their pensions.Another 4 months and EVERYTHING will be in their bag.

    Promises pretty talk and lies will AGAIN be the order of the day for 2015 ,and in December the same thing will be heard for 2016.

    After the budget when everything is safe, the populace can expect MORE bone crushing methods all the while hearing that things are beginning to work and that there is light at the end of the tunnel.

    By now people should have realized that the end of the tunnel refers to the end of April.

    Reply
  7. Shirley Haynes-Johnson
    Shirley Haynes-Johnson December 17, 2014 at 11:15 am

    it really hurtful how we getting unfair were is my income tax return late payment fee

    Reply
  8. Ouida Burnham
    Ouida Burnham December 17, 2014 at 11:26 am

    No wonder so many people are turning to drugs a hungry man is an angry man an so many will go mental

    Reply
  9. Ellie Brown
    Ellie Brown December 17, 2014 at 12:08 pm

    I had had paper audit and verbal audit but no returns!!

    Reply
  10. Janette Reifer
    Janette Reifer December 17, 2014 at 1:35 pm

    They own everybody on this earth. I believe on the Moon and Mars also.

    Reply
  11. Rina Poohbabe Reeves
    Rina Poohbabe Reeves December 17, 2014 at 4:31 pm

    The tin that hurt me ppl file after me. N gets theirs n who get like 50 n 100$ get theirs n d cashy ones hay like dogs waiting . den borrow all kinds of $ other day n we CNT get we tax returns

    Reply
  12. Rina Poohbabe Reeves
    Rina Poohbabe Reeves December 17, 2014 at 4:44 pm

    When U call revenue authority o we don’t no what to say I fed up with gov here

    Reply

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