Barbados Government defaults on VAT refunds to business – years behind as unpaid debts mount

MP debt

Businesses forced to carry debt for the government

Adrian Loveridge, small hotel owner - now selling!

Adrian Loveridge, small hotel owner – now selling!

Over the last twenty five years, I believe our small company has been a model corporate citizen on Barbados. We have no outstanding debt to either Government or the private sector, yet next week we will be forced to go cap-in-hand and beg our bankers for an overdraft facility.

Why, you may ask?

Simply to be able to cover our expenses, while we await several VAT refunds totalling over $32,000, which have been overdue for as long as two and a half years.

We are told that all the claims have been approved, but are ‘warned’ not to call the VAT office to chase when payment will be paid. Of course, we have tried to approach Government discreetly by writing to two Ministers with responsible for either for VAT or small businesses, but weeks later, neither have bothered to respond.

Recently under a banner headline in one of the media outlets entitled‘ VAT Division not taking full blame’ VAT division Auditor, Ryan Wiltshire, attempted to spread the blame onto another Government department, stating ‘it was up to the Treasury’.

Frankly, we are not interested, as already it is a burden to prop up as clearly unsustainable huge civil service that has been completely isolated from the reality of operating in the real world of commerce. And it is almost adding insult to injury when you see Government workers driving around in taxpayer funded luxury SUV vehicles.

Rarely a week goes by without hearing one Minister of another spout the importance of supporting small businesses, which are deemed globally as the best vehicles for economic recovery and employment generation.

Sadly, this appears only to be more political rhetoric and it is probably best to cease and desist at this time, as few out there believe you anymore.

Adrian Loveridge

Peach and Quiet (Barbados) Ltd


Filed under Barbados, Business & Banking, Economy

20 responses to “Barbados Government defaults on VAT refunds to business – years behind as unpaid debts mount

  1. Wayne

    Thank you for posting this. They are killing small businesses by not approving these VAT refunds. Small businesses feel it the most because they just cannot afford to be out thousands of dollars for months on end if they are to keep their business running. And the month that you are not able to pay your VAT on time, they charge you daily interest on the amount you owe for that period, completely disregarding the fact that they still owe you!

    At one point, they were allowing you to deduct what they owe you from what you owe them each period, but that was short lived and completely non existent now that the VAT data entry website seems to be permanently out of service. They now tell you that this needs to be approved by an officer, which never happens.

    This practice is shameful, they are basically syphoning off money from the few that are still trying to keep business going in this economy and at the same time, trying to encourage persons to start up their own businesses instead of looking for a job.

    Just doesn’t make sense!

  2. Wayne

    Clarification: “At one point, they were allowing you to deduct what they owe you from what you owe them in the NEXT period”

  3. June

    Adrian, I admire your tenacity. As a former resident and business owner in Barbados, I don’t know how you manage to hang in there, year after year. Much like you, I came to Barbados after vacationing there for many years and I thought I knew what to expect from a disorganized, somewhat corrupt system. I quickly learned that honesty, integrity and hard work are not rewarded, far from it, especially if you’re a white foreigner. No matter how many Bajans you employ, no matter how much you add to the tourism industry, you will never be treated fairly.

    Bajans, on the whole, are resentful that their country is dependent on tourism. It is a reality that many just don’t want to accept. Barbados finds itself in a paradox of wanting a healthy, decent lifestyle for it’s people on a monetary level but is not prepared to sacrifice much to achieve that. I get where they are coming from because as a non-Bajan, I too, long for the old-time Caribbean lifestyle, which can still be found in other Wes’Indian islands. To quote an old adage “The horse done bolt from the barn”. It is too late to close the barn door, the government has sold out Bajans to tourism on a rampant level and many pockets have been lined in the process, not the pockets of ordinary Bajan citizens but those, who have no interest in the common good of the country.

    I have no regrets about leaving Barbados or ditching my business and aspirations. You have to know when to cut your losses and stop butting your head up on a brick wall. I realize that you have invested far too many years of your life in Barbados and bolting is no longer an option for you and your wife but I mean it sincerely, when I say that I wish you the very best and keep up the good fight.

  4. Leave

    Adrian Loveridge” take your business to one these countries. St. Lucia , Grenada, Dominica, or SVG. SVG has very beautiful beaches in the Grenadines Island check them out, leave Barbados …

  5. hmmm, maybe I need to think again

    @leave well thats nice …Adrian has provided work for Bajan people and tried his best to assist a lot of people and you just say leave. If everybody did that what would be left and what sort of a lifestyle would you all have

    Seems like a lot of peeps in Bim wanna the lifestyle, but resent the person who helps them, or manages to earn a $$ more

    but then somethings never change

  6. 65

    U agree Adrian should just leave he aint wanted or needed around here why don’t he take his business to England and go run there affairs

  7. 65

    I agree Adrian should just leave he aint wanted or needed around here why don’t he take his business to England and go run there affairs

  8. Marvin Bareback

    Adrian, you are one hundred percent correct in posting this and it is shameful to see the government operate this way. Perhaps after living here for so long, you should come to realize that “if that is the way it is, that is the way they want it”…..when I say “they” I mean the powers that be as directed by the will of those that elected them. When something is really, really wrong, they will fix it the next day, but if it’s just wrong but needs some strong political will to fix it, then chances are no attempts will be made to change anything because it is just too much bother. For people who come from places other than Barbados, it is all too easy to spot things that are done poorly or are just plain wrong. However, no Barbadian, wants to acknowledge that there is a better way, in fact, they will resent you for pointing out the obvious.
    I believe the biggest part of the problem is that there is virtually no “excellence” in anything done by locals…..we strive towards mediocre as the goal. We have terrible roads, lousy delivery of health care, poor quality of teaching at our schools, the police service is dogged by under performance and I challenge anyone to tell me that any government department is really doing it’s work well. Bajans just love to get their pictures in the paper doing meaningless stuff and not even doing that very well too. We have likely got the most incompetent judiciary anywhere that steadfastly resists any change or modernization and the backlog of high court cases continues to grow.
    So the best way to deal with this is to become just as insular as the nation is as a whole. Just concern yourself with what is going in your own little world and try not to let all the bungling bureaucrats get you down. You can still make a decent living if you know what you’re doing and there are many things here that can make your life pleasant enough. Try not to listen to those racist idiots who want you to go back to England…..there’s too many of them out there contributing to keeping Barbados the way they want it. If things got a lot better, it would expose them as the mediocre do nothings they really are.

  9. El Maestro

    I cannot agree with you more. Bajans have a love/hate relationship with being forced to be the doggy in the window for tourism sake, to smile, to provide good service, to actually provide real value to the tourists whose money they extort. They do not realize THAT IS ALL they have to offer for self-survival. Across the board, I too witnessed corrupt, world class lazy, largely clueless gov’t workers with few exceptions in the private sector. Bajans have an extraordinarily high opinion of themselves that doesn’t stack up with the rest of the world’s standards for service (there are exceptions). That is precisely why nothing works there for long. International businesses that tried to establish a presence there and hire local workers, airlines, you name it, have all packed up and left. Add the fatal blow of mind blowing high cost to do anything and crippling taxes with the Gov’t withholding money that is due, well, there you have it. The politicians are all merely common, common looters who also flee to the land of plenty once their terms are finished and are taken up by scavengers seeking what’s left. The VAT issue is but a tip of the iceberg: check back here to this blog about September, after the poor “earning” season that this year did not exist meets dead summer earnings and exhausts every ounce of small and medium businesses’ remaining cash flow. Then the Trinidadians will come in and take over what they don’t already own. Shameful about the VAT refund policy.

  10. Google whore--- new app

    Denying that Barbados is in serious trouble and has ceased functioning as an effective democracy is perpetuated by the ability of governments and others in the financial trough using taxpayer money to buy positions of unbelievable transparency and ratings on google search!

    Go ahead and google, Barbados” ” corruption” ” transparency” and see what a whore google has become to effectively deny free speech and not allow properly rated topics to show up first on the site. This buying of google search position and pushing legitimate stories to the bottom is, in effect perpetrating a continued fraud or skewing of popular freedom of speech into some form of corporate betrayal.

    Google needs to be more like Trip Advisor where the people get to speak and rate issues and not get sold to the highest bidder by an even bigger whore.

    Change your search engines!

  11. @65 – is that your IQ? Why bother writing your drivel when it is ignorant, illiterate, and spiteful nonsense?

    It is morons like you who are destroying what’s left of B’dos’ tourist industry.

  12. The Oracle

    It is generally acknowledged that Gov’t has redoubled their efforts across the board and today are unquestionably the biggest thieves in Barbados. The $600 million economic stimulus is more targets to steal from and personally enrich these stupid a holes. And that is the example Gov’t sets to Barbadians…steal, steal, steal some more. We have some 38,000 Gov’t employees strangling us daily.

  13. lawson

    I honestly cannot see why trinidadians want to buy into the problems in barbados unless it is after they undo their five door locks and look both ways before stepping outside like in trinidad, they can feel relatively safe. Well by all accounts that will be short lived.

  14. Glick

    There are two reasons why they don’t pay Loveridge: spite and they don’t have the money. Either will keep him from getting paid.

  15. Bajan Abroad

    Cannot last forever in its current form. Will come crashing down sooner or later.

  16. Laughing

    This is sooo funny….the ability of a tax system of any kind to succeed depends on the ability of the system to properly collect taxes as well as pay refunds to those deserving of them. The thing is so many Barbadian businesses at all levels pay accountants whether employed or contracted by them to create schemes for the avoidance of all types of taxes, VAT included. While is respect Mr. Loveridge’s concerns, it is a much bigger issue problem than is being accepted.

    For instance, I was appalled today to hear the head of ICAB berate government for its high costs while this interest group functions to reduce the collection of taxation from big businesses. Also several of us purchase goods and services and we do not recognized that we by accepting the payment terms and the structure of billings facilitate the tax planning process that is used to avoid payment of taxes, VAT included. Simple things like the waiting period that is rolled into contracts facilitates the business’ ability to net the VAT they pay (and claim) on purchases against the VAT they collect on sales, thereby reducing payment of taxes. While nothing is wrong with this, the creation of schemes to manipulate this process is equivalent to tax evasion.

    Mr. Loveridge and other small businesses are suffering at the hands of big businesses which continue to manipulate the system. Small businesses and individuals cannot control the way the suystem works, due to the very limited nature of their contributions. It is high time that government trains more of its VAT assessors in forensic techniques to enable them to spot and stamp out manipulation.

  17. Wun't be long now...

    …til devaluation.
    Or defaulting on Barbados Government Bonds. Or both.

  18. Not Taken

    This is from todays Nation

    “NIS: Don’t wait too late!
    THU, APRIL 18, 2013 – 12:12 AM
    The National Insurance Department (NIS) has urged companies finding it difficult to pay contributions to discuss their challenges with the agency at an early stage.
    NIS director Ian Carrington said yesterday it had observed that some companies were waiting until their problems with contributions became dire before addressing them.
    He was speaking to the DAILY NATION after emerging from a meeting at Government’s Warrens office complex with Bajan Cleaning Enterprises at which an insolvency proposal from the company – which has debts of about $10 million, including $5.66 million to the NIS – was rejected by creditors in attendance.
    “More frequently now, we are finding that companies are waiting until things get too dire to seek to address them. We advise if you are having a financial challenge paying your NIS contributions, come and sit down and discuss it with us because the NIS has absolutely no interest in putting people out of business or putting people out of work, because that is counterproductive.”

    I am sure the Government the VAT folks to have absolutely no interest in putting people out of business or putting people out of work, because that is counterproductive.

    As the Government seems to be having financial challenges and finding it difficult to pay VAT owing to you, you may want go in to sit down with the Comptroller, at the Value Added Tax Division, Third Floor, Weymouth Corporate Centre, Roebuck Street, St. Michael. to discuss their challenges at an early stage.

    Or you may want to go the VAT Division’s Facebook page and chat with them there.

    According to the site, six people give the page a thumbs up – like it.


  19. Adrian Loveridge

    Yesterday (Friday) we finally received part payment of various periods of outstanding VAT refunds including half of what was due for August/September 2009. 3 years and 7 months to get a refund!

  20. Pingback: Bizzy Williams SHOCKED that people don’t pay invoices, taxes! | Barbados Free Press