Barbados is continuing to implement measures to improve its tax systems.
This was underscored by Minister of State in the Ministry of Finance, Investment, Telecommunications and Energy, Senator Darcy Boyce, as he delivered the feature address at the opening of the Caribbean Organisation of Tax Administrators (COTA) General Assembly and Technical Conference. It was held today at Accra Beach Resort.
Senator Boyce said: "Tax revenues are pivotal to the social, economic and political success of all countries. We are all striving for a better standard of living for our people. Within CARICOM we want to fulfill the millennium goal of the eradication of poverty. The importance of creating and sustaining strong tax organisations must be emphasised, especially in small, open economies.
"… Last year we implemented a New Automated Tax System. In the first year, the Inland Revenue Department experienced some teething problems. However, there is much success to be gained from the use of modern technology to provide more convenience for taxpayers."
Senator Boyce further disclosed that Government was also working on establishing a Revenue Authority to facilitate the integration of income tax, value added tax and land and excise taxes and other collecting agents.
The Minister of State lamented the fact that within CARICOM, several countries were experiencing difficulties, with some having to consider support from the International Monetary Fund. In light of this, he encouraged all tax agencies to cooperate and countries to benefit from each other’s experiences and tax solutions and to exchange information as necessary.
??"Tax Revenues have declined. There have been cuts in expenditure for most governments; cuts in social services have also become a norm. [And] there are rising payments of national debts," he pointed out.
The Minister of State also contended that in order to increase tax revenues, innovative ideas in relation to management, audit and collections were essential and encouraged tax administrators to come together to find solutions for the many difficulties that existed.
During the opening ceremony, 15-year old Belizean student, Jenee Williams, was presented with a first place trophy as the winner of the 2nd COTA essay competition for her entry entitled: ???Building Efficient Tax Administrations in Promoting National and Regional Development’.
The four-day conference, which will end on Thursday, has as its theme: "The successes and challenges of Tax Administrations in maintaining efficiencies in a time of global economic transformation." In 1971, CARICOM ministers recognised the need for a Caribbean Organisation of Tax Administrators.??firstname.lastname@example.org