Sunday, December 17, 2017

Amcham wants Govt to address issues at BIR

The American Chamber of Commerce (AmCham T&T) is worried about what it calls “significant impediments” to doing business with the Board of Inland Revenue.

It said in a statement yesterday it was pleased that the Board of Inland Revenue has resumed duties thereby ending months of Industrial action.

“However, AmCham T&T remains concerned about the management of issues which continue to affect the BIR’s services to the public,” the business group said.

“We are particularly concerned that there are now significant impediments to conducting business with the Board of Inland Revenue which adversely affect the general public and the business community and therefore need urgent attention and resolution.”

The group is asking Government to address the following:

The delay in determination of various applications currently before the BIR on matters such as severance and retrenchment payment approvals and Tax Clearance Certificates.

The lack of timely assessments of stamp duty on deeds and other pertinent documents which are required to be stamped and registered so as to become legally effective.

Inadequate facilitation of voluntary tax compliance including the inability to process tax filings and payments within statutory timelines or as expeditiously as possible—where there are no statutory timelines.

Delays in issuing refunds and recording tax payments due to the backlog in processing tax returns and other filings.

Penalties meted out to taxpayers who were unable to comply with the tax laws due to the industrial action and subsequent backlog created by the disruption in service.

Until these issues are resolved, AmCham T&T said, it is requesting the Government grant a statutory waiver of all penalties and Interests accruing on taxes payable during the period of the industrial action.

AmCham T&T said, “We have articulated the aforementioned positions in our 2014/2015 budget submission as well as in high-level meetings with the Ministry of Finance and the Economy budget team. These inefficiencies at the BIR are a major hindrance to doing business in Trinidad and Tobago. They also affect voluntary tax compliance and Government’s revenue collection.”

“We therefore once again appeal to the Government to take meaningful, urgent action to fix what is fast becoming an untenable situation,” the group said.