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Symmonds: Govt could lose $40m

BEA DOTTIN, [email protected]

Symmonds: Govt could lose $40m

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Government stands to lose more than $40 million in tax revenue largely because of Barbados’ controversial grading as an offshore business centre, says Opposition Senator Kerrie Symmonds.
He made the charge last night when the Christ Church South constituency branch of the Barbados Labour Party (BLP) hosted a discussion on the economy at the St Lawrence Primary School.
The lawyer-politician said the negative report which the Global Forum of the  Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) made on Barbados would mean reduced business for the island’s offshore sector and hence fewer tax dollars for Government.
“In a little while it will be revealed that this Government’s corporation tax receipts have plunged,” he told the gathering that included former ministers Dr Jerome Walcott and Lynette Eastmond.
“The corporation tax receipts will probably fall this year by more than $40 million.
“A major component of our corporation tax is the international business sector,” he noted.
The Global Forum said in its report that Barbados was still not a transparent jurisdiction with respect to international tax cooperation. It claimed that Barbados’ tax information exchange arrangements do not satisfy its standards.
Symmonds told the meeting Britain had “blacklisted” Barbados “as a jurisdiction with whom it is likely that it will be very difficult to do transparent international business”.
He said that Barbados had long been notified that Britain was planning tough action against its nationals who under-declare or fail to declare their assets abroad, including posh homes.
Penalties include a fine equivalent to 200 per cent of the value “of the undisclosed gain”, he reported.
“That will send a shockwave through the minds of every British citizen who is in Barbados and even thinks of doing a little dipsy-doodling with respect to the revenue,” he argued.
Symmonds said Government’s handling of the offshore business sector was just one of many example of economic mismanagement.
According to the former minister, Government had failed to check spiralling prices. (TY)