Government’s failure to deliver Value Added Tax (VAT) refunds in a timely manner continues to be a major drag on day-to-day operations of businesses and the head of a major private sector body has suggested that the establishment of the Barbados Revenue Authority (BRA) has not helped.
In fact, suggested President of the Barbados Chamber of Commerce and Industry (BCCI) Tracey Shuffler, the situation has worsened.
Shuffler said while it was expected there would be some teething problems in the initial stage of the operation of BRA, which was established on April 1, so far there have not been any improvements.
“One of the drains on cash flow is the fact that VAT refunds have not been coming in a timely basis. As a matter of fact, since the inception of the Barbados Revenue Authority we have seen a further slowdown of the VAT refunding situation,” she disclosed in an interview with Barbados TODAY.
The BRA is a merger of major tax-collecting agencies – the Land Tax, Inland Revenue, Value Added Tax, Licensing and Customs and Excise Departments and is led by Revenue Commissioner Margaret Sivers.
“We are trying to work with the [BRA] commissioner to see if we can get to the bottom of some of these challenges, but the truth is that VAT refunds [are] even slower than they have been before, and then the goods and services payments from Government, in a lot of cases, has been slow as well. This is certainly one of the challenges to business and we would like to again call for a review of these issues so that cash flow in businesses can be improved,” she said.
“Cash is king; if you don’t have the money you can’t run a business only on profit on paper. You have to be able to have the cash to use in your business for everything from payment of your staff, to the procurement of goods and so on,” Shuffler added.
The BCCI was expected to meet with Sivers to discuss the matter.
Shuffler said the issue has already been discussed with Minister of Finance Chris Sinckler.
The business leader said she was not sure of the level of non-compliance when it came to companies paying their taxes, but said the Chamber’s position has always been “if you have an obligation you should meet that obligation and if you are not able to, then you should meet with Government and enter into a formal arrangement that you can pay”.
She also told Barbados TODAY she was eagerly awaiting word from Government on proposed tax reform.
“We have no information. We just know that a tax reform is coming,” she said.
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