Small business waiting two years for VAT refunds from Barbados government

Is Government really serious about Small Businesses?

by Adrian Loveridge, small hotel owner

After nearly 25 years running a small business on Barbados, I really wonder if the current Government, or in fact previous ones, are serious about encouraging small businesses and nurturing entrepreneurship.

Yet once again, we have been waiting for up to two years for various VAT refunds. If we are one day late submitting a return, a late filing fine and interest are payable, but clearly this is just a one way penalty.

Currently the following refunds are pending. 2010/07 period – $5,347.95, 2010/09 period – $7,675.73, 2011/07 period – $7,124.28 and 2011/09 period – $4,569.53.

So a total of $24,717.49 outstanding. Consider the strain on the business if we are paying overdraft interest on that amount.

Despite Government imposing a massive 16.6 per cent increase in the rate of VAT, it would appear that this hasn’t had any improvement of the level of efficiency. The private sector has been forced to absorb huge increases in most of our operational costs, while trying to maintain employment. Yet to the best of my knowledge, not a single civil servant has lost their job or witnessed a salary reduction.

In fact, to the contrary, it seems almost totally morally incomprehensible to see that certain public workers have taken delivery of  gas guzzling, luxury vehicles during a period of severe austerity.

The current Minister responsible for small businesses is very vocal and heard almost daily on the call-in programmes with a whole range of opinions. But now is the time to get off the phone, stop talking the talk and do more of walking the walk.

The late repayment of VAT refunds is not new and has been going on for years. Trade Associations representing various sectors have made repeated appeals but seemingly on deaf years.

If the current Government really wants the economy to recover and soak up high unemployment, it is going to be led by small businesses. Now is the time to give your support and ensure our massive civil service does the job they are well paid for.


Filed under Barbados, Barbados Tourism, Business & Banking

15 responses to “Small business waiting two years for VAT refunds from Barbados government

  1. what will they think of next.

    dont forget that five million dollars were transferred from the Min. of Finance to the vat office to pay vat returns just before the last elections and the money vanished into thin air. The Auditor General raised the issue a short time ago he is concerned that nothing is being done about it even though the five million dollars “are still on the Vat dept. books”. but you are not going to mention that and embarrass your BLP.

  2. Pathetic

    While the point of a missing 5 million dollars is a valid question and must be
    properly answered, WWTTON is such a DLP yardfowl shill he forgets the BLP were chronic late VAT payers as well.

    Essentially this money does not belong to the government and should never be used to dip into as general revenue.

    This is the same as Clico using depositors and policy holders monies to recklessly borrow what does not belong to the management to feed their insatiable greed.

    Finger pointing does not excuse either party of fiscal mismanagement and in some cases outright stealing.

  3. Richard

    Do I need to explain why a government in difficulty delays paying its bills?

  4. Adrian Loveridge

    Richard, but this has been going on for a lot longer than 4 and a half years.
    It was the same under the BLP Government and they had tons of money.

  5. millertheanunnaki

    Richard August 26, 2012 at 12:13 pm
    “Do I need to explain why a government in difficulty delays paying its bills?”

    But you need to explain why a business with serious cash flow difficulties must pay its VAT liability on time.

  6. 18

    simple ! don’t pay VaT anymore

  7. Adrian Loveridge


    Nice simple solution, but in our case, we then could not obtain a hotel or liquor licence as you need to produce a current VAT clearance certificate.
    Having said that, so many accommodation providers are operating without licences, then perhaps it doesn’t matter.

  8. 247

    The Vat departments allows you to offsett vat payments due to the vat office with vat refunds due on the payment sheet. The new evetas system allows you to do it online also. That’s what I do now and it solves the issue. No more waiting for cheques and you get to keep the vat you received. Win-win situation.

  9. Wily Coyote

    Adrian —- Time to move back to Canada.

  10. Adrian Loveridge


    What you forgot to point out is that you can only do this for two consecutive VAT periods. Once it goes past two, your ONLY choice is to WAIT, and WAIT and WAIT to get monies owed.

  11. Waiting

    VAT Refund? Waht is VAT Refund? It never arrives. 7 months behind for our little business. It is a crime but the guvment doing it so what can the ordinary man do? Wait like Adrian Loveridge say.

  12. cutlass

    What do you expect from the government? We’re broke. They can’t refund money they have spent elsewhere.

    This aint’ nothing yet. Wait til next year it will be worst. Doesn’t matter if BLP or DLP is the next government they have no money to pay VAT refunds.

  13. 149

    Why charge Vat if refunds on purchases cannot be paid ? That amounts to stealing from citizens !

  14. 189


  15. Adrian Loveridge

    Just to advise that some of our outstanding VAT refunds were paid yesterday (Friday 19th April) including part payment for tax period August/September 2009. That’s an incredible 3 years and 7 months to get PART of the due monies.