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Barbados Debates Revenue Authority Bill

by Mike Godfrey, Lowtax.net, Washington
17 February, 2014

Barbados' Lower House of Parliament debated the Barbados Revenue Authority Bill, a plan to amalgamate the nation's main revenue collecting agencies, on February 11, 2014.

Under the plan a body known as the Barbados Revenue Authority (BRA) will be set up to consolidate the functions of the Department of Inland Revenue, the Land Tax Department, the VAT and Excise Divisions of the Customs and Excise Department and the revenue collecting aspect of the Barbados Licensing Authority.

According to the bill the BRA will be responsible for assessing, collecting and enforcing the payment of taxes (particularly income tax, value-added tax and land tax), duties, interest, penalties, fees and other specified sums payable. It will also advise the government and other public authorities on matters of taxation.

The new authority will "have power to do all things necessary or convenient to be done in connection with the performance of its functions," the bill says.

Minister of Finance and Economic Affairs Chris Sinckler, leading the parliamentary debate, said that the BRA is intended to "enhance the financial sustainability and stability of the financial system of Barbados to improve compliance, reduce leakages of revenue from taxation and increase the overall level of actual tax revenue collected."

Permanent Secretary in the Special Projects Unit, Margaret Sivers, previously said: "The BRA will ensure there is a sharing of information across the agencies...We can now network so that if you owe VAT USD2m and Inland Revenue owes you USD1.5m, you only have to pay USD500,000. It helps your cash flow... So I think there are a lot of benefits from both sides, not only from the public service side, but also from the customer side as it relates to dealing with our tax administration."

The Barbados Revenue Authority Bill would also provide for the establishment of the Barbados Revenue Appeals Tribunal to hear appeals in respect of tax matters.

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