BRA responds to privacy concerns

The Barbados Revenue Authority (BRA) is assuring the public that it’s taking all the necessary steps to ensure that the privacy of Barbadians is maintained and secure as it carries out its mandate of tax administration.

In response to comments made in the media recently, the BRA has confirmed that as part of its annual audit planning, it has been conducting audits in the pharmaceutical sector.

While also confirming that a number of issues have been raised by pharmacists, Revenue Commissioner Margaret Sivers said the Authority is committed to clarity and will develop guidelines to further ensure that the privacy of Barbadians is maintained.

Sivers said any information requested of business owners by tax officers is related to the accuracy of revenue figures and the application of the law.

“Every effort will be made to establish a privacy policy across the board. Meetings will be held with the Ministry of Health, the Barbados Drug Service, the pharmacies and all other stakeholders as we seek to establish guidelines that take into consideration a person’s right to confidentiality,” she said.

“The Authority does not in any way wish to view any private prescription information related to members of the public and talks will be held to make sure that any policy taken is mindful of the emotional well-being and legal rights of taxpayers,” she said.

Sivers also explained that a recent meeting the Authority, held with more than 50 pharmacists, is part of an ongoing sensitisation plan, which sees the engagement of the BRA with groups representing various sectors on the island in order to share information and garner feedback.

“From last year, we have been proactively engaging with several agencies in an effort to not only help them better understand their tax obligations but to have discourse of issues, new and emerging.  This is an important function as a tax administration. These meetings have been fostering dialogue with the various groups in Barbados and we will continue this programme as a means of supporting taxpayers in being voluntarily compliant,” Sivers added.

23 Responses to BRA responds to privacy concerns

  1. Bajan First March 20, 2017 at 5:15 am

    Way to go BRA! Too many people have been avoiding the tax net. Everyone needs to pay their share. We expect to hear complaints especially from those who have been avoiding and defrauding the system

  2. hcalndre March 20, 2017 at 7:30 am

    @Bajan First: What else is there to tax? tax on food items, now tax on medications, I think BRA may want to set up toll booths for vehicles enter or leaving the parishes. That will make it about 40 different taxes they impose in 8 years and still is in the recession.

  3. Peter March 20, 2017 at 8:22 am

    How many Hairdressers, carpenters, masons, electricians, plumbers, mechanics, Pudding and souse and countless other self employed “hustlers” are out there raking in hundreds of thousands of dollars yearly and do NOT pay a cent in taxes, yet they DEMAND FREE health care among other amenities. Look at the houses they build and the vehicles they drive. I am not saying they should not do well, Just pay the damn taxes man. The BRA officers only have to go into hardware stores and a fe others. See how many business cards are nicely displayed on stands offering these services. These people network. Teachers give private lessons earns thousands of dollars per week, travel twice sometimes three times a year on shopping trips. Painters, tillers, lawn maintenance car washers .BRA do the maths. Do they pay NIS or PAYE? caterers. Everyone must contribute. We ask How come countries like Singapore do so well? Search yourself. Do you really do your part. DLP or BLP. It does NOT matter.

    • Watchman March 20, 2017 at 11:36 am

      Thank you for your comment sir.
      May I add that they also use schools and tertiary institutions and benefit from the roads whether they own a vehicle or not.
      It would be amazing if the revenuers actually performed their jobs, the treasury would runneth over.

  4. Jennifer March 20, 2017 at 9:10 am

    But people will always slip through the net. I knew people overseas who was COLLECTING all types of BENEFITS, some junk about having a bad back and PTSD. Yet they copulating and producing children, doing dress making, icing cakes, catering for parties etc. I guess the thing is not to register. Money rules the conscience.

    • Jennifer March 20, 2017 at 9:14 am

      I guess once you collect from the whales and the great white sharks, they will help to fill the void. After all…………………….

  5. bradg March 20, 2017 at 10:03 am

    I agree everybody ought to pay their share of taxes. However not everybody is going to enthusiastically arrive at BRA offices each month or each year and pay taxes!! That’s “pie in the sky” thinking. This explains why Government is alleged owed circa $1Billion dollars!!
    So there needs to be enforcement……but do we ever enforce any in BIM??? You cannot make the comparison with Signapore, their culture is totally different to ours. They are more disciplined, more regimented. That’s a country that detained one of the heads of a Formula One team because he spat gum in the street!!!
    The answer is forced compliance!!

  6. bradg March 20, 2017 at 10:07 am

    Another thing…….how much VAT refunds and Income tax refunds still outstanding to be paid. I don’t Government a cent, but my income tax refund outstanding since 2014. People need their refunds too!

    • Jennifer March 20, 2017 at 10:17 am

      You have to deal with corruption too and all the money that go unaccounted for.

  7. Peter March 20, 2017 at 10:44 am

    bradg. You are correct in everything you wrote. But my friend, I have seen first hand these disciplined and regimented behaviors. In my heart, political parties and beliefs aside Barbados can be one hell of a great place with success and respect overflowing. I personally saw a business plan that could change this place completely. This includes its peoples NOT paying VAT no more, 65% drop in electricity and water rates, Manufacturing which will be cheaper than even Guyana and Trinidad, exporting over USD$ 500 million. Tell the politicians to stop holding their hands under the table to get greased. I am talking of a revenue earning capacity of over USD $ 7 Billion a year. You think Estwick had a plan? You ain’t see nuthin yet. This can change the entire Caribbean. Antigua is the place now to invest. Our University has to stop producing run of the mill lawyers and doctors as if on an assembly line and drops off a conveyor belt. One day. Perhaps one day it will be revealed. Maybe it will be too late as we will wake up seeing someone else doing it.

  8. jrsmith March 20, 2017 at 11:12 am

    Who is this statement directed at…nobody needs protection from paying taxes , its not a criminal act but its criminal to avoid..paying taxes and especially (VAT) I had a friend who went to prison in London for 14 days for not paying £200 in (VAT)
    The big issue the government is not clever enough to collect any taxes efficiently, they will only go after john and harry for not paying $50 dollars but wouldn’t even try to collect certain company taxes of $100,000 ..
    To me this statement is protection for the big boys , who sends they profits out of barbados and still owe hundreds of millions of dollars to the barbados Treasury and would pay one cent in taxes…………………………………

    • Jennifer March 20, 2017 at 12:51 pm

      jrsmith – well said, on point. The reason why they are not cleaver enough to collect the taxes is because they were not taught. This is what was left out of the education system. Let the big fish get away and target the small fry. Them in big boy boat too. Even in the big UK they now trying to get them big fish into the drag net. Mind you people greasing people hands too.

  9. Peter March 20, 2017 at 12:38 pm

    jrsmith, I told you before. You lived in England too long to come back here and tell Bajans the British do it this way and that way and it is the best. way. Go back for Christ’s sake. Give them advice. When I said there will be noi VAT I neversaid it should be avoided. What I meant to say was that Barbados will or rather earn so much revenue that VAT will be abolished. to expand, the economy will expand with more shopping What do you think Keep London, USA, Dubai, Paris Japan and other major cities or rather countries’ economy ticking? I like some of your mostly politically critical comments but it’s all based on England this and England that. Writye something that is economically positive or Go back man.

  10. jrsmith March 20, 2017 at 12:59 pm

    @, peter ,hail, hail, why are you blasting at me ,I have never compared Barbados to England , I was making a comment , any time I make comments about mainly technology ,I always relate to the fact the technology used in the (UK) would greatly benefit the people of Barbados ..also I never refer to your comments ..

    If this is upsetting you , I have bajan friends who works in all parts of industry in the (UK) and I would be proud to see them along with myself , be able one day to contribute our engineering skills to help the people of Barbados..
    Must further add sitting in barbados, is some friends of mine and others , who was upper management material on the (London Transport ) buses and trains ,these people should be ask by government to help put our transport system right….BUT……….

  11. jrsmith March 20, 2017 at 2:25 pm

    @, Jennifer hail, hail, on the button as usual, they play the same tricks going after the wrong people , but the big boys are all covered they have they (Haven) , ( Heaven ) to hide they money and they 3 protectorates under the (UK) government,

    • Jennifer March 20, 2017 at 2:34 pm

      jrsmith – But peter know that too. He is a clever cookie. What Peter want is for the 96% to be targeted and the Whales and great whites continue to pass through the slip me loose. And the politicians ain’t taking no advice from no one, as they are under the illusion that they are educated.

    • Jennifer March 20, 2017 at 2:55 pm

      jrsmith – A DRAGNET when cast should “ideally” pull in big and little. However, it will only catch the little fish, while the very tiny will slip out. The whales and great whites will not be caught either, especially if they can spit water high in the air and use their white teeth to cut the net, if caught at all. Then, they will get some EXPERT well greased accountants to finish the deal.

  12. Alex Alleyne March 20, 2017 at 2:29 pm

    Next , they gine TAX the TAX, and they will think that “matters fixed”.

    • Jennifer March 20, 2017 at 2:35 pm

      They will tax AIR too.

  13. Alex Alleyne March 20, 2017 at 2:37 pm

    @jrsmith, Please tell your friend to make sure that they do not shell out their services for “free” here in BIM. The elite usually “import experts” and pay them “super-big-bucks”. The days of freeness are over. Everyone is asking up front…What’s in it for me??????.

  14. jrsmith March 20, 2017 at 3:40 pm

    @, Alex, A, hail, hail, its about time you and others I wouldn’t mention who , get rewarded for they effort to see if we all could make people in bim acknowledge we need to wake and confront our issues as for change…
    Mr , Alleyne I am willing to offer you a place on a (Barbados Management Committee ) with 19 others , all agreed by the barbados people If I could raise 2 billion (US) dollars……….

    • Peter March 20, 2017 at 8:35 pm

      jrsmith. I am sorry if I misunderstood your comment back there . I will be away for a while. You and Jennifer please do take care. I will be monitoring your comments daily.

  15. Alex Alleyne March 20, 2017 at 7:56 pm

    First meeting is with the AG on “drugs and guns”. Then the PM on jobs.


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