“No equity about a tax”

Margaret Sivers, Revenue Commissioner

Margaret Sivers, Revenue Commissioner

BU followed some of the debate to the Barbados Revenue Authority (Amendment) Act 2017 this week and wondered why the government waited so long to implement measures to make tax collection more efficient. If we are to enjoy services financed by from the public purse taxpayers must pay their taxes. Who likes to pay taxes anyway.

Of concern to BU however is why does government continue to ignore the leaking foreign exchange where well respected companies operating in Barbados do NOT bring all foreign dollars earned onshore. This scam has been ongoing for decades and is known to successive government.

The following Barbados Advocate Editorial is therefore of interestBarbados Underground

“In a taxing statute one has to look merely at what is clearly said. There is no room for any intendment. There is no equity about a tax. There is no presumption as to a tax. Nothing is to be read in, nothing to be implied. One can only look at the language used.” –per Rowlat J in Cape Brandy Syndicate v IRC (1921) [Emphasis added]

Despite its patently significant contribution to the national welfare, the idea of taxation proves nettlesome to most persons. Hence, whether through the criminalized mode of tax evasion or that of the more licit tax avoidance, citizens try to arrange their affairs so that they themselves pay, or that these affairs attract, the least tax possible.

Therefore, when a taxpayer is required to produce documentary evidence of having fully complied with his or her tax liabilities and thus made their contribution to the national purse, he or she may instinctively baulk at this “imposition”, more particularly so when it is stipulated as a necessary precondition to conducting some activity or other that was thitherto regarded as a natural freedom of the individual.

Such was the popular reaction to the governing administration when it sought to pass the Barbados Revenue Authority (Amendment) Act 2017 in the Lower Chamber on Tuesday of this week.

Essentially, this piece of legislation, as others elsewhere, seeks to require a person that is desirous of making a disposition of land by conveyance or lease to another or of making application for the renewal of a liquor licence, to obtain a tax clearance certificate from the Revenue Commissioner order to facilitate and legitimize the transaction. Ideally, all taxes, including those assessable under the Excise Tax Act, the Income Tax Act, the Land Tax Act and the Value Added Tax Act respectively should have been paid in order to obtain the requisite certificate.

Some allowance is made, however, for the delinquent taxpayer that has paid not less than 10% of the tax due (including interest and penalties) and has executed an agreement with the Barbados Revenue Authority for the purpose of making scheduled payments to liquidate the further outstanding sums.

Naturally, there has been much negative reaction to this. The Oppositions claims that it is outright unconstitutional, while a statement from the Bar association asserts “mischief” and “constitutional implications” in that there is an absence of a provision for due process for the taxpayer to object to the sum of tax assessed by the Authority as owed to the Crown.

This latter objection is not without some merit, although, as the Honourable Prime Minister intimated during the debate, a finding of unconstitutionality is a matter for the court and not for mere assertion.

We consider that a simple resolution of this matter lies in having the Revenue Authority first provide each applicant for a certificate with an assessment of unpaid taxes. The applicant would then be free to object to that assessment within a stated period, failing which the applicant will be held to have accepted its conclusiveness. Thereafter, the certificate would, or would not, be issued accordingly.

The governing administration rightly stresses the need for citizens to pay their taxes if we are to continue to enjoy those entitlements that we have come to regard as the fundamental rights of Barbadians. The social contract is dependent on each party duly performing its part. This new initiative will create for some a conflict between civic duty and selfish personal ambition. May we all be mature and selfless enough to fulfill our tax obligations for the sake of the nation that has given us so much.

51 thoughts on ““No equity about a tax”

  1. Question!…Will there be a clearance certificate and proper conveyance issued for the Hyatt site and similar controversial land issues for which major projects are air marked?

  2. @Barbados Advocate “enjoy those entitlements…”

    What entitlements?


    Some ‘o wunna have no idea how much taxes some of us pay and how few services we receive in return.

  3. Ours is not a problem of tax laws or even of taxation per se…
    Ours is an issue of monkeys and jackasses running things. It matters not how many laws are passed; how many new taxes are imposed; how many ministers get up and spout their shiite…. we will continue to slide…. WHY?

    Jackasses were not meant to lead – they are beast of burden … not fonts of wisdom and vision.

    The BRA is the biggest joke since “Public Sector Reform” and the “Productivity Council”

    It is a CHORE for an ordinary citizen to pay the damn taxes…..
    It takes a whole damn day to pay a car registration…
    The staff are clearly first form dropouts who seem to have been selected because they are unemployable anywhere else in this whole world.
    All the buildings have White-house level security – with many more ‘guards’ (little old women and sick looking men) than they are attendants and cashiers…
    The Computers seem to be an additional chore that the dummies are forced to play with….

    Barbados need someone with BASIC COMMON SENSE running things, …and from the look of things, the IMF will need to send us a country-administrator to ensure that some retarded idiot will not just take the damn money and spend it buying concrete from baloney or paying Bizzy for water he did not pump and garbage that he will resell…. to the same brass bowls that PAID him to take it in the first place….

    We keep shooting ourselves in the foot and then increasing taxes….

  4. For years we have allowed all manner of stupidity and political tomfoolery to prevail. Now that the gravy train is rapidly grinding to a halt, we are trying to escape reality. Here are some examples both the BLP and DLP allowed:
    Many businesses never honour VAT
    Many employers deducted workers’ national insurance and never transferred them to NIS
    Many people gainfully employed never pay income taxes and some self employed people never pay income tax but expect old age pensions
    Some tenants in government units did not pay rent
    Graduates never repaid the Student Revolving Fund
    Many businesses and high end professionals bluntly refuse to pay any income tax
    Such blatant lawlessness was allowed and we had politicians from both sides advising people not to give government its due when they thought that it would bring them votes. The efforts to have tax clearance should be understood by all but we have once more opted for political gamesmanship. Our rudderless country now glaringly devoid of any real leadership from within both major political parties is heading for the rocks. Some are gleefully expecting to benefit from the disaster but they will learn that a vessel that is nothing but splinters of wood cannot transport anybody anywhere.
    Our resource challenged little island has been kind to us but we have chosen to repay her in very brutal ways. Here are some examples:
    She gave us beautiful beaches and we have littered them
    She brought us buses but we refused to maintain them
    She gave us free university education but some believe that vulgar language and primitive discourse is the best way to communicate
    She gave us wonderful weather and peaceful neighborhoods but somehow we feel that blaring our music boxes and causing neighbours sleepless nights is alright
    She gave us the opportunity to make a living by transporting citizens in min-buses but we turn it into a culture of do as yuh like ; ignore de traffic laws and clog up de courts with traffic offenses
    We are therefore the collective pirates that have hijacked the good ship Barbados. And now as she tosses and turns in difficult waters we are saying : Ain’t we dat do um……..

  5. @WS
    Spot On.
    you good Sir seem to be getting more intelligent by the week.

    Yes we need to accommodate assessments under review, but what the lawyers would like is endless appeals. There also a number of historic leaks which need plugging, particularly customs at all ports.

  6. And they got the nerve to tag the taxpayer entity with BRA as an acroynm…that should have told the public that none of them are right in the head….to come up with such a suggestive acroynm…and see nothing wrong with that, but more than likely, that acronym is all they sit and think about all day instead of actually doing any work.

    “Barbados need someone with BASIC COMMON SENSE running things, …and from the look of things, the IMF will need to send us a country-administrator to ensure that some retarded idiot will not just take the damn money and spend it buying concrete from baloney or paying Bizzy for water he did not pump and garbage that he will resell…. to the same brass bowls that PAID him to take it in the first place….”

    A country administrator from IMF could do no worse than what DBLP have done over the last 30 years to bring the island to its present dilemma. ..at least a country administrator will be answerable to someone else, held accountable for any destructive actions and would not be able to scapegoat subordinates to shift blame for their actions. Given the current level of incompetence displayed by the current leaders after nearly a decade of countless warnings by the same IMF and rating agencies, that is exactly where all of this is headed.

    Of course IMF and other agencies are all now aware of the existence if cockroaches like Bizzy and his gang who continually lurk in the shadows just waiting for the idiot leaders in parliantment to sign multimillion dollar loan agreements on behalf of the people…..then to present their scam plans to the fools and get their cut of those millions via contracts which do not benefit the taxpayers who have to repay those loans for generations, oh those agencies are well aware and will act accordingly or just cancel the loans.

    The dummies in government buying that old, hard expired cement from Maloney which still sits covered at Spring Garden for at least the last 6 months or more to use in scam artist, inferior looking building projects or to concrete the roads and make the surfaces even worse would come as no surprise, the most stupid people on the island are in leadership roles and positions and it is showing…..

    ……talking about Bizzy and his multi million dollar IONICS decades old water scam the leaders helped Bizzy perpetrate on the taxpayers……shows the level of evil residing in the hearts of both DBLP governments…against their own people as well as yheir level of incompetence.

  7. “Graduates never repaid the Student Revolving Fund”

    I know graduates who have repaid or are still repaying student revolving, so it’s fair to say that many dont repay the loan, but most do repay the loan, let’s be fair..

    And you never once mentioned Bizzy, Cow, Bjerkham, Maloney etc…who have robbed the treasury for decades of hundreds of millions of taxpayer’s dollars with their fly by night scams aided by corrupt DBLP leaders…….,those 5 or 6 business people have singlehandedly done more damage to the economy by hoarding, shipping out foreign exchange and with their scams than everything else you mentioned….while Bjerkham still sits on the board of central bank only they know doing what and how much more damage to the economy with his vindictive and hateful character and personality.

    It’s only fair to mention all of that.

  8. Right in middle of tourist season some idiots kill a guy near lime grove, rich people like that sort of thing, it is not bad enough that your economy is going down the tubes but mental morons have to hurry it along.

  9. @ Lawson

    I wondered when someone would have mentioned that.

    What is sad about that was that the police who are1,000 yards from the murder and shooting said “they hear shots”

    Lawson were you in Barbados when the Plaza got burnt down flat?

    The evening of the news they were interviewing a fire station officer who, enthused to be on the news, it was a big ting den, Lawson, said to the cameraman “I did smell smoke but I dint tink much of it”

    Flat Lawson, flat. And the fire station was right next door to the Plaza, and I believe was one of Arson Truss’s insured properties

    I would do a video of the Lime grove property and walk from there to the police station and post in on YouTube with all the necessary commentary

    Now here is a thing Lawson.

    You ent hear Carl More or Less better after the medical condition talking bout how de police instead of tapping your phone and mine and the phones of the candidates for the third party should be tapping the phones of the criminals and the drug lords


  10. When the idea of the Barbados Revenue Authority was first conceived, it was intended to be an institution that collected arrears. Effectively, it was intended to be Government’s debt collectors, since none of the revenue collecting departments had any personnel to go after the arrears on a consistent basis. As originally intended, after 90 days, the arrears would have been transferred to the Central Revenue Authority (CRA) for collection.

    Instead of forming a collection agency the CRA morphed into this oversized BRA that bundled the revenue collecting agencies into one agency. The BRA was formed but because of political and IMF intervention the problem of none collection of arrears remains.

  11. Piece….that mentality still prevails….both governments saw IMF coming, but thought nothing of it….lol

    Caswell. …lol

  12. Barbadians are too full of self interest to understand that the preservation of Barbados fate lies within their own hands and it is their responsibility to do their civic duty in the upkeep and preservation of the country
    i will bet that if barbadians did not have to pay taxes that most would be requesting the same entitlements like free education placed on a springboard that Errol Barrow promised free education for all
    The mindset of barbadians lives in a world of glorious unrealaties .

  13. Why whould the average person get excited about paying taxes while this government allows Butch and his ilk to harvest millions and millions of dollars annually without paying a cent in tax or vat? Is that what you call being a committed Barbadian? Maybe no one would have to be taxed at all if those fat cats paid their fair share. And what about all the vat that used to be collected? Vat was bringing in more money than income tax and we were promised a phasing out of income tax but did it happen? But you know what? Politicians can always find ways to squander away othe people’s money so if every citizen paid twice what they are now paying and we cleared the national debt, our esteemed leaders would still find ways to spend more than that collected. Taxing people to within inches of death is not the answer, our highly educated politicians must first of all change their mindset.

    • So true!

      A people must have confidence/trust in those who are in a position of leadership. Worrying to BU are the concessions given to the Cost U Less people as well. Let us not forget this operation was intended to reduce the cost of food. There are several example where the government (successive) have sold out the people for 30 pieces of silver. Here is another retail outfit, a drain of forex, given concessions. We continue to wonder why. It is not just about collecting taxes, the people must believe there is a prudential framework in place.

  14. @lawson February 19, 2017 at 6:21 AM “Right in middle of tourist season some idiots kill a guy near lime grove”

    I don’t know why the media keeps saying near limegrove. Lascelles Road is in a bushy area more than 1/2 mile from Limegrove. In a small place like Barbados 1/2 mile is a long distance. Look it up Lascelles Road on Google earth if you wish.

  15. SS because the media likes to sensationalize everything to sell papers not knowing or not caring about ramifications. Look at what is going on in america they are losing creditability, but before they are shown to be fudging it people will get suffer. All I will think is limegrove not safe, I was there almost everyday in the bar and restaurants last kadooment for the 3 weeks i stayed The press still report it but be more accurate.

  16. @ Bush Tea February 19, 2017 at 12:40 AM
    “Barbados need someone with BASIC COMMON SENSE running things, …and from the look of things, the IMF will need to send us a country-administrator to ensure that some retarded idiot will not just take the damn money and spend it buying concrete from baloney or paying Bizzy for water he did not pump and garbage that he will resell…. to the same brass bowls that PAID him to take it in the first place….
    We keep shooting ourselves in the foot and then increasing taxes….”

    Good one, Bushie! A man with his recently acquired 20/20 vision to see the Barbados of 2018.

    That corrupt cartel would now have to prove their worth instead of behaving like albino parasites feeding off the taxpayers with the deceitful politicians behaving like yard-boys filling the trough while siphoning off their share via kickbacks and blatant bribes.

    This administration is so purposely hypocritical and deceitfully incompetent when it comes to tax collection even your yellow and blue eye boy Walter Blackie has given up putting his head above the fast disappearing parapet.

    He Walter B, along with a another noise-making patriot, put a ‘clean’ open and shut case as to why Leroy Greenverbs should be assessed on that laundered $3.3 million forensically identified as nothing more that a payment for his ‘gratuitous’ contribution to the financial collapse of the CLICO ponzi scheme leaving hundreds in pure misery and permanent financial ruin.

    But as you pointed out most succinctly, they can pass 3.3 million laws and regulations but if you have bosom pals in high places where a fumbling lying giant can be found sleeping then those laws can kiss Bushie’s black braying donkey.

  17. So then if barbadians are dead set about concessions to investors which are positioned to give back over a given period of time to the country then the other alternative would for barbadians to take the bull by the horns not to encourage investors and give barbadians taxes incentives to build their country
    Which most likely barbadians would never do since for the most part barbadians are all about individual survival.Then again how many barbadians have been given enormous concessions in areas where govt funding has help to build their business and have remained comfortable and unwilling to expand their business further inareas to create further growth or productivity which are the building blocks of a country
    But when govt have to go outside and pay a price of bringing outside investment everybody bawl but the truth being barbadians are slow and unresponsive of stepping up to the plate and and when they do the little experience shown is nothing that can be sustained long term or productive
    So this quarreling about concessions is and has been and will continue to be a political lucrative wedge of throwing scratch grain to feed yardfowls on both political divides , Nothing new here
    Barbadians over the years have gained astronomically by way of free education a largess of all the concession far and wide to all families and what does barbadians have to show in way of productivity via manufacturing to develop the country very little if any
    An idea built around a concession of giving free education which for the most part was meant for barbadians to build a barbados and which has been abandoned over the years in preference for self interest

  18. Lawson,

    When the ordinary person says average they usually mean median. In Bermuda the rich people are the ones in insurance. The native Bermudans are lucky if they get a job. Averages, like forecasts, can be deceiving.

  19. Hal I agree , but if the median is 340000 dollars there has to be a trickle down effect the bottom half cannot be absolute poverty, I am curious where the average bajan is as Canadians are 270000 brits are higher.

  20. Lawson,

    Apart from Africa and arts of India, when we talk of poverty we talk of relative poverty – the gini coefficient.
    When I was a little boy in the Ivy we did not realise we were poor. We had lots of fun playing cricket and running around. It was only when people came in from Europe and North America and told us we were poor we thought that we were deprived.
    That is why I say keep these people out.
    About the UK, we are a very prosperous country with a standard of living far above the sixth place we hold in the global index. The average annual salary in the UK is about £27000 ND IN London about £36000.

  21. Somebody correct me if I am wrong ….but…..my recollection has it that with the introduction of VAT all taxes over a 10 year period except for property and vehicle would be removed and as Caswell stated CRA would deal with defaulters from them.

    Our present default on taxes situation lies in the lack of adequate staff to pursue outstanding monies.Once this is corrected the need for a tax clearance cert will no longer exist……one less bit of paper,time and ink wasted.

  22. @ David February 19, 2017 at 12:38 PM

    David, there only one event that would bring about the kind of environment to facilitate the blocking of forex leakage.

    When there are ‘forced’ painful pinches from the tightness brought on by an across-the-board swathe of materialistic sacrifices arising from the dreaded but now clearly inevitable haircut styled the bad “D”.

    Don’t you think that if the current administration was really serious about stemming the forex leaks it would not have moved with proactive alacrity to curtail the importation of vehicles for private use given the already surplus to requirements number of this luxury item on the fast deteriorating road network?
    The longest journey starts with the first step.

    That is the kind of out-of-the-matchbox policy initiatives that should be occupying the time of those managers instead of looking for plaster to pretentiously fix tax loopholes for which there are already surgical options to apply.

    But Bajans will soon come to personally feel the ‘added’ impact of the relevance of that old adage: ‘You never miss the water (conspicuous consumption) until the (forex) well runs dry’.

    • @Miller

      The BRA continues to be poorly managed outside of the policy and political direction. By the way, has the BRA decided to audit Leroy Parris yet?

  23. A word for those who are using anti-government positions to encourage
    citizens to not pay taxes:
    “Never encourage your dog to suck
    your neighbours eggs because he will eventually
    suck yours.”

  24. @ William Skinner February 19, 2017 at 1:42 PM

    You should be enjoining the protective pals of Greenverbs in your clarion call to pay one’s fair share of taxes.

    35% of $ 3.3 million is nothing to scoff at especially in these hard fiscal times; clean money or not.

    We are pretty certain your former colleague Walter Blackie would back you in such a patriotic call to duty.

    Now here is an adage for you to chew on: ‘To whom much is given, much is expected.’

    “Selfishness is not living as one wishes to live, it is asking others to live as one wishes to live.” ~Oscar Wilde

    “A pure hand needs no glove to cover it.” ~Nathaniel Hawthorne, The Scarlet Letter

  25. Who duz pour water intuh uh onion bag?
    Is it not time to stop throwing good money after bad?
    Wunna tink um duz be easy?
    Most people ent got nuh money tree growing in duh yard and DEM waxxing out people hard-earned money and demanding more.
    Well not one more effing cent in taxes until dem show dat dem capable of earning duh pay.
    Dog bite yuh!

  26. Which country in the world spends billions of dollars on free education of their people then acts with irrational and unrealistic practicalities to hire a large amount of them .At some point and time the systems becomes overheated and the bottoms begins to leak and eventually collapses
    Taking a closer look at that picture it shows a massive upside scheme that is fiscally impracticle unmanageable and unsustainable

  27. @ David February 19, 2017 at 2:39 PM

    That is like asking one brother ‘R’ of the famous Criminal Kray twins to grass on the other ‘R’ (Hal A the undercover investigative reporter for every dirty tabloid in the UK would have known them intimately).

    Or even the incoming BLP to lock up at the much maligned Dodds any member of the ruling political class from Stinkliar to Lashes to the recently silenced Lowedown.

    There is only one man who has had the ‘forced-fed’ intestinal fortitude to spill his lying guts against his bigger lying boss. And you see what is happening to the economic ship of state?

    Any more moves to distance themselves from their sponsors and their former agents of propaganda can only result in further political bloodletting and electoral blood bath.

    One funny little cat with too big a hat has been thrown amongst the pigeons. Throwing in a badly speaking mongoose called Greenverbs will only spell a massively complete slaughter of the feeders of the once fatted calf.

  28. @David

    Those are Central Bank Annual Reports, what I’m referring to IS AN AUDIT OF CENTRAL BANK by a forensic auditor, ie: Deloitte etc. Government under law should have Central Bank audited at least once per year, can anyone find one of these audits.

    • @Wily

      If you read the notes from page 15 of the 2015 financials posted there is no mention of an Audit by the Audit and Risk Committees.

  29. @David.
    The BRA continues to be poorly managed outside of the policy and political direction. By the way, has the BRA decided to audit Leroy Parris yet?

    Leroy Parris, Harris, Maloney and the likes of them will never ever be audited.

  30. You can go to some shops in Nelson Street and Bridgetown pay them US which allows your family in Guyana to get money within 48 hours.

  31. I’ve been trying to log on to the Government’s electronic tax website (etax.ird.gov) and cannot do so. I am getting an error message that says “Your connection is not private, attackers might be trying to steal your information …..”

    The Norton site indicates that the etax website does not have the correct certificate.

    Anyone else can’t get on to the government’s website to start the process of filing their 2016 tax returns? … or is it just my computer that someone is trying to hack?

  32. @ Alvin
    “…It takes a whole damn day to pay a car registration…”. Either “fake news”, or “Alternative facts.” Same thing.
    Alvin, the other alternative is that you are a brass bowl idiot…. but Bushie has already established that fact.

    The place opens at nine, it takes hours in the line to get a weight certificate … then another long wait in the same line to pay.
    How many employees do you know who can work this into their normal work day? Think everyone ‘works’ for the damn government?
    BBI ….!!!

  33. @ Are We There Yet

    Your connection is not secure

    The owner of etax.ird.gov.bb has configured their website improperly.

    To protect your information from being stolen, Firefox has not connected to this website.

    Learn more…

    Report errors like this to help Mozilla identify and block malicious sites

    etax.ird.gov.bb uses an invalid security certificate.

    The certificate is only valid for etax.bra.gov.bb




    I would tell you what has been done wrong but “like they say in the movies, after i tell you i would have to out your lights” lolololol

    ammmit is a certificate problem, they have not renewed their certificate (or your computer date and time is off, I will err on the side of the first, given their cash problems heheheheheh

    If you are okay with doing so and dont have an alternative then add the clowns as an exception and do it online

    Adding a certificate exception manually
    Go to Tools -> Options (in Windows) or Firefox -> Preferences (on a Mac)
    Click on the Advanced (“gear”) icon at the top.
    Click on the Encryption tab. …
    Click the View Certificates button. …
    Click the Servers tab.
    Click the Add Exception button. …
    Click the Get Certificate button.

    Or go to the page and click on the blue box called advanced and do it manually in the GUI

    If you are particularly paranoid remove the certificate afterwards

    • @PUDRYR

      Usually for a government department we can attribute to negligence by some one responsible for paying the bills.

  34. 48 Comments on ““No equity about a tax””

    nineofnine February 18, 2017 at 10:18 PM #
    Question!…Will there be a clearance certificate and proper conveyance issued for the Hyatt site and similar controversial land issues for which major projects are air marked?
    Rate This@@@

    ninceofnine@ as you can see the crooks on the internet voting for people to get their investment into fraud, As much as reported 100 Million$ , yet as with Cahill we dont know the true numbers for those can be part of overpricing, The Bigger the Numbers the more greed and smiles on faces of locals thinking they will get more work than the people imported to take your work,

    Your Questions are on point , If all things are free and clear or Clear title and the true owners give them Permission the only problem maybe if the public want to give up one of the few beaches left , where they may not be able to use,

    We see this as using it to get votes in the PM St Michael South, As said before why from 2013 have nothing Started, I can tell you why in a later Post,
    We love love for any lawyer or builder go to the land Registry or Archive and Pull the John Beckles Deed, or maybe Ask William Skinner What deed he holding,or is he the one giving land owners Permission?

  35. what’s the difference between Inland Revenue and the Barbados Revenue Authority is this just another way for Government to derail and deceive the public so that they can get away with unknown sums of public works money by switch the names of business to cover up their loop holes of pocketing unclaimed sums of money. why is it that as of 2012 you can no claim any objections under the name of the inland revenue department. Are we blind to what’s going on under our NOSES’, we are being sold like slaves in the slave trade triangle. THESE CROOKS:DEMS YOU SELL OUT YOUR OWN PEOPLE’.

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