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Lawyers cry foul

SHERRYLYN CLARKE, [email protected]

Lawyers cry foul

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The local lawyers’ body is threatening to take the Government to court over an aspect of its contentious solid waste tax which has Barbadians in an uproar.
The Barbados Bar Association yesterday dispatched a letter to the chairman of the recently established Barbados Revenue Authority (BRA) giving the Government its same July 28 payment deadline to respond to claims that it will withhold land tax certificates unless the newly imposed municipal solid waste tax is paid.
The Bar sprang into action after a number of reports from members that they had been “informally notified” of a decision by the BRA that land tax certificates verifying payment under the Land Tax Act (LTA) would only be issued when the solid waste tax is paid in full.
“It is our understanding that the reason given for this stance is that the municipal solid waste tax is regarded as a lien over the property concerned. We have reviewed both the LTA and the MSWTA [Municipal Solid Waste Tax Act], as well as the subsidiary legislation made under both acts, and we can find no legal connection between the two separate taxes. Nor do we interpret any part of the LTA to say that the issuing of a land tax certificate confirming the payment of land tax depends on any other taxes being paid,” the letter from the BAR said.
The tax, announced last December in a Ministerial Statement by Minister of Finance Chris Sinckler, is a 0.3 per cent levy based on the site value of a range of properties owned by from ordinary residents, charities, NGOs to businesses. (AC)