Small Business Cannot Get Government to Pay VAT Refund After Two and Half Years

Adrian Loveridge - Owner of Peach & Quiet Hotel

Adrian Loveridge – Owner of Peach & Quiet Hotel

Over the last twenty five years, I believe our small company has been a model corporate citizen on Barbados. We have no outstanding debt to either Government or the private sector, yet next week we will be forced to go cap-in-hand and beg our bankers for an overdraft facility.

Why, you may ask?

Simply to be able to cover our expenses, while we await several VAT refunds totalling over $32,000, which have been overdue for as long as two and a half years. We are told that all the claims have been approved, but are ‘warned’ not to call the VAT office, to chase when payment will be paid. Of course, we have tried to approach Government discreetly by writing to two Ministers with responsibility for either VAT or small businesses, but weeks later, neither have bothered to respond.

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Recently under a banner headline in one of the media outlets entitled ‘VAT Division not taking full blame’ VAT division Auditor, Ryan Wiltshire, attempted to spread the blame onto another Government department, stating ‘it was up to the Treasury’.

Frankly, we are not interested, as already it is a burden to prop up what is a clearly unsustainable huge civil service that has been completely isolated from the reality of operating in the real world of commerce.  And it is almost adding insult to injury when you see Government workers driving around in taxpayer funded luxury SUV vehicles.

Rarely a week goes by without hearing one Minister of another spout the importance of supporting small businesses, which are deemed globally as the best vehicles for economic recovery and employment generation. Sadly, this appears only to be more political rhetoric and it is probably best to cease and desist at this time, as few out there believe you anymore.

0 responses to “Small Business Cannot Get Government to Pay VAT Refund After Two and Half Years

  1. Cost U Less was a stupid idea from the very inception. The VERY LAST thing Barbados needs is another foreign/private owned retail outlet.
    It is obvious that if Cost U Less hires 100 new workers the other retailers will send home 110. The damn place is already saturated with check-out persons.

    Had Thompson listened to Bushie, what he would have supported instead was a CO-OP supermarket owned by ordinary Barbadians. The problem with the current operations is that they are accused of price gouging and maximizing profits.

    With competition from professionally run CO op owned supermarkets we could be assured that the best available prices were charged. Even if higher prices existed in the coop, any profits would return to the owners (coop members) through a system known as patronage refund (ask Caswell to explain that….)

    Thompson took a perfectly good proposal and split it into two perfectly ridiculous ones – Cost U Less and Co-optima.
    Both are guaranteed to fail, but perhaps they have already succeeded in achieving hidden agendas…..


  2. @ac

    As usual your analysis is cloudy with political dust. If you go back to the archives you will see that the late Thompson sought to bring Cost-U-Less and other retailers to Barbados to drive down prices in the supermarkets etc. You may recall driving down the cost of living was a big platform issue in 2007-2008. How can Cost-U-Less drive down prices when it has to import the same crap from the markets which Pricesmart, Shopsmart, SuperCentre and all the other retailers presently import? What Cost-U-Less has done in a shrinking market is to force others out of business read JOBS. The fact that they got a truckload of concessions because of a willingness to contribute is salt for the economic wounds.

    To end, do you know how many jobs Cost-U-Less has created? What jobs what? How much forex does it consume? To remind you Cost-U-Less was about pushing DOWN prices. To repeat, based on its current pricing model the prices are the same as everywhere else.


  3. Six years later, the price of food is still ridiculous and jobs are gone.


  4. millertheanunnaki

    @ David | April 14, 2013 at 9:30 AM|

    What makes the Cost-U-Less situation even more embarrassing is this DLP administration’s failure to use the opportunity to truly roll out its so-called alternative energy programmes and green economy policies. The insistence on the use of solar power technology and recycling of resources including water as part of the bargain for tax and other concessions would have made the project more appealing and viable in the longer-term.
    As the economy- based on conspicuous consumption- bottoms out further with the pending rationing of forex this retail (import and sell) new obese and spoilt kid on the block would find the going very, very rough with idealistic cash-flow projections and expected profits not up to scratch.


  5. Miller
    I read here that you were on a cruise some where around the world. AC and Island were actually calling for your gems of wisdom when the governor of the central bank nearly committed economic suicide.


  6. Miller………..the dancing governor of the central bank’s mea culpa last week nearly caused a heart attack……………


  7. Carson C. Cadogan

    Well Well | April 14, 2013 at 7:58 AM

    I am sorry if I disappoint you by not praising everyone else and knocking Barbados.

    Because some one is white and from “over in away” I will not judge them to be smarter than my Black people.

    You can do that all you want but I will not join you anytime soon.


  8. Carson C. Cadogan


    You are were not around here for long enough.

    The old Bajans had a saying, “When yuh hand in de Lion mout, you have to ease it out”.

    Continue to let the BLP jokers on this Blog advise you!!!!


  9. Carson C. Cadogan


    You now wake up?

    I still dont understand how you get in the House of Assembly?

    Joker like you!


  10. Listening to the partisan contributions of BLP bloggers especially in the last week, one could only imagine how they would have behaved if they had gained control of the reins of government.


  11. Carson C…………..i really don’t see where paying this guy his $30,000 in VAT is saying he is white and smarter than anyone……maybe the black business people who are currently owed VAT should come forward………….and this over and away thing……….if all the bajans are returned to Bim from US, Canada, Europe, there will be no room for them in Bim or you either…………..and you better be thanking over and away for the fact that you are able to eat right now.


  12. Do we have an update on the appeal by Courts to the non paying of 25 million dollars in VAT levied?

    Are appeals by customers posted publicly (Gazetted)?


  13. That’s where i have a problem……..the government should be vigorously pursuing the companies who owe all this money in vat and taxes…….but they keep looking at the pennies these companies pay in salaries, most of them don’t even pay the employee’s NIS……………something is wrong.


  14. @David
    “Many large hotels received millions from government in relief and then still went out of business a couple years ago.”
    Therefore , is it fair or honest for the BHTA members or those in the private sector to give the impression that nothing was done by this government to assist them?


  15. Prodigal Son

    What is the recourse for the average taxpayer who cannot get back his tax refund? I checked the status on my refund often and all it says is “pending”. How long am I going to have to wait? We are really too placid in Barbados!


  16. @Hants

    The Hamilton machine…?


  17. David wrote “The Hamilton machine…?”

    I have no idea what you are referring to.


  18. Risk it at the forefront of every-business and using the argument that the cost-u- less did not perform as expected is frivolous .to counter that what if it had? the fact of the matter their is no guarnatee on how a business will perform on any given day .However the risk taken by those involved trumps doing nothing .


  19. Prodigal……….hope you have time and is still around 20………….any event can pend into the next century.



    Small Business Cannot Get Government to Pay VAT Refund After Two and Half Years?
    Then dont pay any more VAT until you are even ? Send them showing the credit to give them until you get to zero.
    The DLP and the BLP will spend your money before the write you a check ,


  21. Adrian

    This is from todays Nation

    “NIS: Don’t wait too late!
    THU, APRIL 18, 2013 – 12:12 AM
    The National Insurance Department (NIS) has urged companies finding it difficult to pay contributions to discuss their challenges with the agency at an early stage.
    NIS director Ian Carrington said yesterday it had observed that some companies were waiting until their problems with contributions became dire before addressing them.
    He was speaking to the DAILY NATION after emerging from a meeting at Government’s Warrens office complex with Bajan Cleaning Enterprises at which an insolvency proposal from the company – which has debts of about $10 million, including $5.66 million to the NIS – was rejected by creditors in attendance.
    “More frequently now, we are finding that companies are waiting until things get too dire to seek to address them. We advise if you are having a financial challenge paying your NIS contributions, come and sit down and discuss it with us because the NIS has absolutely no interest in putting people out of business or putting people out of work, because that is counterproductive.”

    I am sure the Government the VAT folks to have absolutely no interest in putting people out of business or putting people out of work, because that is counterproductive.

    As the Government seems to be having financial challenges and finding it difficult to pay VAT owing to you, you may want go in to sit down with the Comptroller, at the Value Added Tax Division, Third Floor, Weymouth Corporate Centre, Roebuck Street, St. Michael. to discuss their challenges at an early stage.

    Or you may want to go the VAT Division’s Facebook page and chat with them there.

    According to the site. six people give the page a thumbs up – like it.



  22. Adrian Loveridge

    Not Taken,

    Thank you. very interesting. How on earth did NIS allow debt to build up to $5.66 million? We have sat down with the VAT people and helped them correct the many mistakes on our account. They have admitted (in writing) that all claimed amounts are payable by them, but will not say when.
    I will certainly follow your advice and try their FaceBook page.


  23. Adrian Loveridge

    Not Taken,

    Must be doing something wrong. I cannot get onto their FaceBook page.


  24. Agreed the question needs to be asked and answered why was such a significant debt allowed to accumulate to bajan cleaners. Doesn’t the NIS have an Inspectorate that is responsible to ensuring employers honour their obligations? What confidence can John citizen repose in a system when such obvious incompetence abounds?

    And here it is we have Minister Inniss and government preaching business facilitation. Mind you this is a public sector culture which has spanned different governments.


  25. David
    What is worse than that is some years ago we had a british hotelier who ran up an enormous NIS bill fled the Island was taken into custody in Britain but released never to be heard of again. The NIS had ample time to endure that there was some threshold over which companies should not go. Furthermore some thing is wrong with their monitoring program if they have one.


  26. Adrian Loveridge


    British or German?

    It should not make a difference WHAT nationality the person(s) is/are,
    but the system of collection. It is absolutely clear from OUR experiences that either Politicians and/or Civil Servants have their favourites.


  27. @lemuel and Adrian

    Matthieson from Kings Beach hotel at the time.


  28. Adrian

    “Must be doing something wrong. I cannot get onto their FaceBook page”
    What a surprise

    Google – barbados value added tax division. First item is
    VAT Division Customs & Excise Dept Barbados | Facebook…/VAT-Division…Barbados/1566465577…VAT Division Customs & Excise Dept Barbados. 6 likes · 0 talking about this

    Am I correct in assuming you have not signed on as a Facebook friend?


  29. Adrian

    How on earth did NIS allow debt to build up to $5.66 million?

    Guess you could say NIS “got taken to the cleaners”


  30. Adrian Loveridge

    Where there is life, there is hope.
    Received part payment of outstanding VAT refunds for several tax periods including half of what was due for August/September 2009.
    3 years and 7 months to obtain a refund!


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