[ARANGUEZ, October 10] — Following a preliminary review of the 2019/20 budget statement, the Employers’ Consultative Association of Trinidad and Tobago (ECA) sees this as a reasonable attempt to assuage the relative impact that successive austerity measures may have had on the country, given the recent trends associated with oil and gas prices over the last five (5) years and its relative impact on our country’s ability to earn related revenue.
A businessman from Tobago, who admitted to charging the Tobago House of Assembly (THA) Value Added Tax (VAT) without being registered with the Board of Inland Revenue (BIR), has been fined $89,000.
Raymond Francis, owner of Trinbago General Supplies and Services, was slapped with the fine after pleading guilty to 89 VAT fraud charges before Magistrate Brian Debideen in Scarborough Magistrates’ Court on Monday.
The Ministry of Finance says the Chamber of Industry and Commerce has misunderstood the IMF report.
While the Chamber says the Government owes businesses $5.5b in VAT, the Finance Ministry contends that businesses owe roughly $16b in taxes.
The following is a press release from the Ministry of Finance:
The Ministry of Finance wishes to set the record straight on statements made by the Trinidad and Tobago Chamber of Industry and Commerce (TTCIC) in a press release dated November 28th, 2017.
The Chamber of Industry and Commerce is calling the government's $5.5bn debt to businesses as unacceptable.
The debt is as a result of VAT refund owed to some businesses.
In a statement, the business group says quote: "The T&T chamber demands that government take corrective action immediately, in what has evolved into a highly disruptive situation." end quote.
The chamber says while it is not unusual for delays in the VAT refunds, it has gotten worse to the extent that it's now over 2 years that businesses are still waiting for their VAT refunds.