A move by the Barbados Revenue Authority (BRA) to ‘enforce’ the law has left some self-employed persons hopping mad.
It surrounds the recent decision by BRA to require self-employed persons to make pre-payments on their personal income tax.
However, communications officer at the state-run entity Erica Lazare told Barbados TODAY the provision was always provided in the law and BRA was simply enforcing it.
One annoyed woman who asked to remain anonymous, complained to Barbados TODAY that it was unreasonable to expect her as a self-employed person to pay her income tax in advance.
She said she did not know how much money she would earn in the coming year and it was therefore difficult to expect her to pay money on earnings she had not yet made.
“They want me to pay taxes on money that I haven’t even earned yet and BRA is telling me that if I pay too much I will get a rebate and if it is too little I would have to pay the difference,” she said.
“But I don’t think that something like this should be mandatory, self-employed persons should be given an option. If there are persons who can afford to prepay their income tax then they should be able to do so, but all self-employed persons should not be subjected to this.”
The irate woman said what made things worse was the fact that she only became aware of the new requirement after BRA sent her an email informing her that she was being penalized for having missed the June 15 payment date.
That email informed her that she was being charged a penalty as well as an interest fee for late payment.
“I only became aware after BRA sent out an email informing me that I was being charged. I did not receive any prior notification,” she maintained.
Another disgruntled female said she was not in a financial position to make the pre-payments.
The woman, who has been self-employed for just two years said business had slowed down considerably.
“I think it would make more sense to allow us to make our money first and then pay taxes on that money after. Right now things are really tight and having missed the June 15 payment date and with September 15 around the corner I don’t know if I will be able to find the money to pay.
“And interest will be going on all that time which will make it more difficult,” she said.
But Lazare said provision was made in Section 54 B of the Income Tax Act for BRA to demand prepayments from that group of employed persons.
“Prepayments for personal income tax and corporate income tax have been a requirement for quite a few years, since 1975. It requires for self-employed persons and people who receive rental income and corporations to pay a portion of their tax payable for the previous income year towards the following income year,” Lazare explained.
She said the implementation of TAMIS had allowed BRA to send out notifications and emails to clients informing of the “new” requirement.
“Unlike TAMIS, the previous tax system did not have the capability to send notification emails directly to persons, but TAMIS encompasses reminders of upcoming returns and payments, so that is why people will be now getting those emails,” she noted.