Government is moving to ensure that all professionals pay their fair share of taxes.
Delivering his 2015/2016 Financial Statement and Budgetary Proposals in the House of Assembly this afternoon, Minister of Finance Chris Sinckler announced that, with immediate effect, persons covered under the Profession, Trade and Business Registration Act, would be required to produce a valid tax clearance certificate from the Barbados Revenue Authority (BRA) in order to renew their licences to practice here.
Sinckler said once this was done, it would lead to the broadening of the tax base thus allowing the Government to collect enough revenue to run the country, while lowering the tax rates.
“Put another way, this situation of some people paying their fair share and others escaping the net must be brought to a halt to the extent that we can,” he added.
He noted that there were currently some loopholes in the law, which had previously prevented BRA from effectively bringing a larger group of non-salaried or independent professionals into the net.
“This has been a longstanding bugbear for tax administrators in Barbados as these individuals still have full access to and utilize all of the public goods and ‘free social services’ and amenities which our country so generously provides,” Sinckler stated.
The Minister of Finance said within the next few weeks, he would introduce to Parliament, various amendments to the law, including the BRA Act, to close the loopholes.
Meanwhile, the Minister of Finance has announced a reduction in the fees and licences for small and medium-sized enterprises.
Sinckler said these would decrease by 25 per cent this year and a further 25 per cent next year.
In spelling out the professions that would benefit, Sinckler listed the general wholesale sector, which will pay $7,500 from this year, down from the current $10,000 and a further reduction of $5,000 next year.
He said wholesale licence fees will fall from $5,000 to $3,750 this year and another $2,500 next year, while retail decreases from $1,000 to $750 and then by a further $500.
Restaurant licences will move from $1,000 to $750 this year and a further $500 next year, with occupational fees dropping from $100 to $75 and then $50.
Druggist licence fees will now be $562.50, a reduction of $187.50.
The registration fee of dental hygienists and dental technicians will move from $150 for three months or less to $112.50 this financial year.