The Trinidad and Tobago Chamber of Industry and Commerce (TTCIC) has described as “wholly unsatisfactory” the TT$5.5 billion value added tax (VAT) refund arrears owed to the private sector by the government.

In a statement, the TTCIC said that the matter remains of critical concern to the business community, given its negative impact on the ease of doing business.

It quoted a recent International Monetary Fund (IMF) Country Report that states that at the end of March 2017, tax arrears stood at 11 per cent of gross domestic product (GDP) and that Trinidad and Tobago had been ranked at 145th in the Doing Business survey’s “paying taxes” index.

“At this juncture, the T&T Chamber is concerned about both the impact on cash flow of VAT-registered businesses, and about the prospect of non-compliance.

The private sector group said that while lengthy waiting periods were not uncommon, “the situation has now worsened with business people experiencing refund delays exceeding 24 months.

The private sector group said that as representatives of the business community in Trinidad and Tobago, it “demands that government take corrective action immediately, in what has evolved into a highly disruptive situation”.

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