Barbados Chamber of Commerce & Industry (BCCI) Concerned over the Municipal Solid Waste Tax

While the Barbados Chamber of Commerce & Industry (BCCI) recognises that the government must find ways to increase revenue and reduce costs as part of its attempt to close the deficit, nevertheless, one of the major concerns from the NGO relates to the basis used for calculating the Municipal Solid Waste Tax (MSWT). Another main issue is with its impact on cash flow of businesses.

President of the BCCI Tracey Shuffler stated that although the BCCI cannot determine the exact indicator of the level of waste produced by each person or group of persons (families and businesses) in this country, the value of improved land has no bearing at all on the same. She added that the tax is therefore not equitable and will disproportionately impact pensioners, persons who have inherited lands but have modest incomes, the unemployed and businesses with large landholdings with little economic yield from them.

President of the BCCI Tracey Shuffler stated that although the BCCI cannot determine the exact indicator of the level of waste produced by each person or group of persons (families and businesses) in this country, the value of improved land has no bearing at all on the same. She added that the tax is therefore not equitable and will disproportionately impact pensioners, persons who have inherited lands but have modest incomes, the unemployed and businesses with large landholdings with little economic yield from them. {IMAGE COURTESY T.T. GOV’T}

In a press release issued by the BCCI citing its concern with the impact of this tax on both cash flow and profitability of some businesses, it revealed that some BCCI members are already struggling to make reasonable returns on their assets and investments in Barbados. It adds that the number of commercial lands and properties for sale is a testament to the need to shed underperforming assets. Members indicate that the impact can range from significant to severely impacting and will pose a huge challenge for some businesses.

(PERSONAL FILE IMAGE) On the point of cash flow impact on some businesses, the BCCI reports that a number of companies are struggling to collect monies owed for goods and services sold to Government and this is having a punishing effect on their ability to continue trading. Considering the now available "one view" of the taxpayer at the Barbados Revenue Authority, the BCCI is proposing that those businesses owed monies by the Government be allowed to offset this new tax fully against these long outstanding receivables where applicable. It is further suggested that for all commercial property owners, the first payment of the MSWT be penalty and interest free until the second payment is due on December 31, 2014.

(PERSONAL FILE IMAGE) On the point of cash flow impact on some businesses, the BCCI reports that a number of companies are struggling to collect monies owed for goods and services sold to Government and this is having a punishing effect on their ability to continue trading. Considering the now available “one view” of the taxpayer at the Barbados Revenue Authority, the BCCI is proposing that those businesses owed monies by the Government be allowed to offset this new tax fully against these long outstanding receivables where applicable. It is further suggested that for all commercial property owners, the first payment of the MSWT be penalty and interest free until the second payment is due on December 31, 2014.

As indicated in the budget last year, the MSWT is intended to be a temporary revenue raising measure for a period of eighteen months. The BCCI expects that Government will hold to that promise and not apportion further burden on the already significantly pressured business community and general public.

President Shuffler contends that there is a serious need to look at the overall tax system. She shared that one clear recommendation from the BCCI is for Government to conduct a comprehensive review to close the gap between what is assessed and what is collected.

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