Government gets support from new political party

The leader of one of the island’s new political parties is on Government’s side in the standoff between the Barbados Bankers Association (BBA) and the Barbados Revenue Authority (BRA) over the requirement of tax clearance certificates for financial transactions.

Grenville Phillips II of Solutions Barbados has insisted that citizens must pay their taxes and once Government is operating above board, then he saw no problem with demanding that individuals and corporations be fully paid up in their tax obligations in order to get a tax clearance certificate for real estate and other transactions.

His support comes amidst strong opposition from the BBA, attorneys, the Barbados Estate Agents and Valuers Association, and Opposition Leader Mia Mottley who have complained that the amendments to the BRA Act, under which the certificate was introduced, have created a gridlock in the sale of properties.

The bankers’ association announced last week that due to a “lack of clarity” on the processes involved in the issuance of the certificates, commercial banks had to suspend $221 million worth of real estate-related transactions.

Minister of Finance Chris Sinckler described the decision as “unfortunate and unwarranted” and was adamant he would not pull back the BRA Act amendments.

Phillips said Sinckler may be on solid ground.

“The estate agents would have to explain if they have been treated unfairly in the marketplace. If the estate agents have not been treated unfairly in the marketplace, if the Government does not choose estate agents to give the work to, then the Government has a strong case requesting that all real estate
agents provide tax clearance certificates,” Phillips said.

“However, if the Government picks the winners and therefore decides who the losers are, then the Government does not have a good foundation on which to stand. The Government has a very good case if it was not meddling in the sector. Once there is a tendering process we must assume that it is fair. Everybody must pay their taxes to participate in the economy. That’s the price a citizen pays to participate,” he added.

Phillips suggested that as a gesture of goodwill, Government should have granted a tax amnesty last year, during the country’s jubilee Independence celebrations.

“Any taxes owed should have been waived at that time,” he said, adding that an amnesty for all delinquent taxpayers was one of the planks of Solutions Barbados’ platform.

“Having benefited from the amnesty, the taxpayer who becomes delinquent again will be asked to pay a penalty of ten times the taxes owed,” Phillips explained.

7 Responses to Government gets support from new political party

  1. jrsmith May 30, 2017 at 4:59 am

    Would this apply to our complete nation, barbados is a very politically corrupt country………….them and us……. enforcement is the issue……..

    Reply
  2. Henry May 30, 2017 at 6:24 am

    Mr. Phillips comments here show exactly why the new BRA Act 2017 should be suspended to allow for full clarity.

    It’s not the real estate agents who have to provide tax clearance certificates, it’s the sellers of property. If a seller cannot get the certificate then they cannot sell. Any reduction in transactions is bad for the Real Estate market and by extension the economy.

    The banks are concerned because their ability to get paid if a client defaults on their loan is compromised. i.e On the forced sale of the defaulters property the Government will get paid the taxes it is owed first, and then the bank will gets what is left over and hope that their is sufficient to cover the amount owed.

    Left unchanged the result is that banks will likely start to lend less i.e offer loans only up to 70% instead of 100%, or increase interest rates.

    Reply
    • Haskell Murray May 30, 2017 at 1:17 pm

      The banks should not be lending at 100% that is bad business policy with the bank assuming all of the risk . I would like the banks to explain to the public what is the clarity issue they are concerned with

      Reply
  3. Samantha Best May 30, 2017 at 6:51 am

    I would like to believe that Mr. Phillips was misquoted. What he is saying has nothing to do with the issue at hand. He is totally out of it.

    Reply
  4. Bobolee Popo May 30, 2017 at 7:34 am

    Grenville…political poppet..

    Reply
  5. Patrick May 30, 2017 at 12:17 pm

    What is so difficult in getting a tax clearance certificate before leaving the country, there are cases where persons have left the island without paying taxes

    Reply
  6. Greengiant May 30, 2017 at 2:59 pm

    The fact is Mr. Phillips is saying and I must agree, ” all must pay their required share of taxes, we are severely overtaxed because of the many people who are allowed to conduct business, property changing hands, with all parties involved getting their revenue and government left holding the bag”. Then the workers have to pick up the slack, it’s time to pay your taxes in all areas, and cut the working class some slack. This is the only way, so please give the government your support. The bankers and Real estate persons had months to get this issue addressed and clarified.

    Reply

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