Thursday 4 June, 2020

Mottley: Tax clearance certificate an ‘instrument of oppression’

In the amendments to the bill tabled by Minister of Finance, Chris Sinckler, it was noted people were selling properties for ‘millions of dollars’ without paying any taxes to the government while many of them owed were in arrears for the paying of income tax and Value Added Tax (VAT).

But Opposition Leader, Mia Mottley, in her contribution to the debate, said the amendments to the legislation were "ill-advised". While she acknowledged that the paying of taxes is necessary, Mottley said the ease of doing business in Barbados was already difficult and this legislation will make it worse for home owners, hotels and restaurants.

"This debate is not about DLP and BLP and winning an election. This debate is about the passage of legislation that will come to act as an instrument of oppression on both the righteous and unrighteous in this country."

Mottley said the single tax ID number under the proposed amendments will make it difficult for people to dispose of their property "in a way that makes sense" whether it be by lease or sale.

She also said the legislation will impact on the country’s level of competitiveness by making it less attractive to investors. Quoting from the Ease of Doing Business 2017 Report, Mottley noted that Barbados ranked at number 130 out of 138 countries for the registration of property.

She said statistics such as these, along with others in the report, prove that the country cannot afford to bring any legislation which will make it more difficult to operate in the local business environment.

Mottley also said the legislation could cause financial institutions to add a "new layer of questions and processes" to the loan approval process. 

"As members on this side have pointed out, it doesn’t only relate to you as an individual, if you are married, if you have partners, to the other persons who are in partnership with you in the ownership of assets - this legislation will grind business in Barbados to a halt."

She suggested the government instead utilise an enforcement unit to cut down on those who take advantage of the loopholes in the tax collection system.  

     

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