Government will ensure that people pay their fair share of taxes.
This strong message came today from Minister of Finance and Economic Affairs, Christopher Sinckler, as he answered tax-related queries from the media on the sidelines of the Green Climate Fund???s National Sensitisation and Readiness Consultation at the Grande Salle, Central Bank of Barbados.
Mr. Sinckler said: ???There are some professionals who believe that they should not pay taxes and there are quite a few of them who do not. Soon enough it would all come out how many are not paying and if the current laws do not take care of that and if the court system is not moving fast enough to prosecute people when they are taken there, then we have to find other methods to ensure that people pay their fair share???
???There are too many people who just do not even file a return and it is the Law of Barbados that all persons who receive income should file because all income is assessable. Even if you don???t generate a tax at the end of the day, you have to notify your income to the Barbados Revenue Authority so it can be assessed.???
He explained that the experts made a credible argument that this island???s rate of decline of GDP was not significant enough to justify the decline of the revenue collection rates. He pointed out that the tax base was shrinking because some people were escaping the tax net, and insisted this anomaly had to be corrected.
???I can???t imagine why anybody who is reasonable and fair-minded would want to object to us moving to a stage where we bring those people who are supposed to be in the net, paying their fair share of taxes because they utilise the same services that you and I utilise and we have to pay taxes??? With a wider base, you get more, and therefore you can reduce the rates and then everybody benefits at the end of the day.
???I can???t imagine why anybody would want to oppose that. But then again, we live in a society where people feel that they should not pay tax at all and it is becoming chronic??? If you are in a society, you have to contribute your fair share; that is all we are asking,??? he asserted.
The Minister noted that the Barbados Revenue Authority was put in place to improve the island???s tax administration. He pointed out that people had complained for years about the amount of tax dollars individuals and businesses owed Government.
Mr. Sinckler stressed that Government did not want to get involved in ???naming and shaming??? professionals and urged those who had not complied with the law to visit the BRA and make arrangements to honour their obligations.