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Tax advice for SMEs

Marlon Madden

Tax advice for SMEs

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This bit of advice was issued to small and medium sized enterprise owners last Thursday by Dalton Medford, president of the Small Business Association (SBA), as he gave comments at the Entrepreneurship Training Programme graduation ceremony at the Savannah Beach Hotel.
He advised the more than 200 entrepreneurs gathered that the payment of taxes should not depend on which political party was in office and that they should see paying taxes as a moral obligation.
“There are issues of [non-payment of] taxes. I want to urge you that you need, as a people, to be up front and pay your taxes,” said Medford.
Last January the Barbados Private Sector Association said a survey of 25 micro, small, medium and large businesses showed Government owed them $49.6 million and the situation was causing serious cash flow problems, threatening jobs and putting companies’ reputation at risk.
The private sector said surveyed companies were owed $13.87 million in refunds for value added taxes (VAT) and $3.98 million in corporation tax refunds.
However, Minister of Finance Christopher Sinckler responded that the private sector was also guilty of not paying up, adding that what Government owed them was just a fraction of the amount in VAT and corporation taxes which businesses had still not paid.
Sinckler said the state was owed almost $80 million in corporation tax by companies across Barbados and the VAT Department was owed a whopping $361 million “ostensibly largely by companies across Barbados”.
The Finance Minister said land tax arrears by businesses and individuals stood at $153.8 million while the National Insurance Scheme was owed $291.4 million.
Medford told the room of businesspeople and potential entrepreneurs: “Whether you went to a private school or you went to public school, the fact is that the quality of life that we enjoy today is because we paid our taxes.”
The SBA?president added: “Yes, you can decide which Government [is] good and which is bad and who wasted money but the reality is that our taxes are responsible for us being able to enjoy the quality of life we enjoy today.
“So I urge you as small businesspeople and people who want a better society to pay your taxes.”
Medford also called on those who were not yet members of the SBA to consider becoming members while urging existing ones to continue to pay their dues.