The following is a communication which was sent to the VAT Office by Hotelier and social commentator Adrian Loveridge.
On or before the 15 March 2013, we will be expected to pay over to Government the amount of $37,526.60 in Corporation taxes due for the last financial year . If we do not pay on time, then there will be an immediate fine of 5% of the amount due, which equates to $1,876.33 plus interest accrued of 1% per month or 18% annually, which is 3 times the latest rate of Government borrowings to sustain a bloated public service and pay for dismally failed projects like GEMS (Hotels and Resorts Limited) and the chartering of Carnival Destiny for CWC2007.
As a small business that has operated on Barbados for twenty five years and has honoured all statutory obligations, it is a significant amount of money. Yet the same Government has owed us outstanding VAT refunds of nearly $30,000 for up to two years. Of course they have not paid us any late penalty charges or interest.
Before going public, I have written personally to the Ministers of the various Government bodies involved, but up until today not received any form of response. It appears they feel they have no obligation to businesses that are successful, sustainable (through there own efforts) and those who have demonstrated viability over decades of operation. Yet week after week, it is almost impossible not to read or listen to endless rhetoric about the importance that small businesses will play in the recovery of our economy.
As a frequent writer on tourism matters, I have become used to attracting a high level of attention in Government circles with all the negative consequences this has brought over the years but this is another matter. We are left with three simple choices. Go into overdraft and pay commercial bank interest to pay the corporate taxes due, pay the fine and interest or receive the monies we are owed by Government. At the same time, the new administration must define its priorities and decide whether it is going to be its policy to support and encourage small businesses to grow and survive or whether through its actions, it is going to bury them, with all the employment implications that brings.