Tomorrow May 31 marks the extended deadline for tax filing season but some taxpayers are demanding a second extension as the new online platform Tax Administration Management Information System (TAMIS) has been marred by difficulties.
Scores of Barbadians lined the Treasury Building offices of the Barbados Revenue Authority (BRA) this afternoon. When the Barbados TODAY visited the head offices, some individuals could be heard loudly venting their frustration at the over two-hour wait.
One of these individuals was Dawn McClean-Cave, who loudly complained about her third visit to the BRA offices.
“Every time it is a problem . . . you don’t have the right paperwork and then you can’t get back tomorrow [May 31], you have to give the Government $500 that you ain’t got,” McClean-Cave told Barbados TODAY.
The Government worker was agitated with the tiresome online process. She revealed that due to the technical issues with the online platform, she resorted to filing her taxes in person at the Treasury Building, Bridgetown offices. However, the face-to-face process has not been smooth either.
“Look at the line, it is not that people are late, it is that people does come and you ain’t got this, you ain’t got that, you lining up here and catching bad feels – this is worse than election!
I come last week she want an email address, I gave she my I.D card, my I.D. card supposed to show who I am and where I come from . . . She told me I.D. isn’t working,” McClean-Cave bitterly complained.
“I had to bring back the TAMIS number which she said is a number to memorise but that is about 30 numbers! I can memorise that? She said it is more valuable than your I.D. well, I am sorry for her because I barely memorise my I.D.,” she continued.
The mother of eight also described the new tax process as “ridiculous”.
Another taxpayer who requested anonymity was frustrated and worried about what the future held for the new online platform, having experienced numerous issues attempting to do it himself.
“I have no problem waiting because I still want this problem solved but my fear is that next year it will be the same,” he said while suggesting that Barbadians should have been gradually introduced to the new online tax filing system.
Meanwhile, Nailah Robinson was one of the few persons in line who reported no issues with the platform. Having completed her taxes, Robinson was there on behalf of a friend. She shared that completing her tax return was a “pretty smooth process” and she was shocked by today’s turnout.
“I was surprised to find this line here because I come to this office pretty often and it hasn’t been this long for the last couple weeks so I thought things were going even more smoothly, but I guess they aren’t,” Robinson indicated.
Although she had completed the process, Robinson suggested that an extension was needed because some employers were still updating employee information.
“I know some people only had their information updated a couple of days ago and they didn’t have a chance to really look and make sure the system was working properly,” she disclosed.
Erica Lazare, BRA Communications Officer did not confirm there will be an extension for taxpayers but stated that the BRA would be assisting those who were negatively impacted by challenges to the system.
“We are putting facilities in place to ensure that [taxpayers] are not negatively impacted by any challenges that they are having that are no fault of their own,” she indicated.
Lazare noted that there has been a sharp increase in persons coming to the BRA customer services and payment departments as the deadline drew nearer. The website issues have also been addressed with BRA increasing its bandwidth to accommodate the large numbers of people using the online facility. The BRA has also extended its closing time to 7 p.m. to accommodate last-minute applicants.
The BRA spokesperson noted that the last minute rush was customary during tax season.
“We find a lot of persons wait until the last minute to file their returns and this year we also had a lot of companies who filed the income information on behalf of their employees late as well.”
While explaining that some companies were still uploading large files on behalf of their employees, Lazare implored taxpayers to check with their employers to make sure that their required information was uploaded onto the system before they filed their taxes.