Chamber queries deadline for repayment of VAT refunds

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

Independent Senator Amrita Deonarine

The TT Chamber of Industry and Commerce is calling on the government to clarify exactly how and when the balance of the outstanding VAT refunds would be repaid to the business community.

On May 2, in reply to questions from Independent Senator Amrita Deonarine during the Senate sitting, Finance Minister Colm Imbert said government will issue $3 billion in VAT bonds to help reduce the estimated $7.8 billion in outstanding VAT refunds owed to businesses.

He said the bonds will be issued between June and August and will bring the total amount of VAT refunds for the year to over $5 billion. He added that when the outstanding amount would be cleared depended on the availability of cash flow and the full implementation of the Revenue Authority.

Finance Minister Colm Imbert – File photo

In a release on Friday, the Chamber acknowledged the announcement, describing it as a move in the right direction.

“The TT Chamber has repeatedly called for the matter of the long outstanding VAT refunds to be settled. Clarification on how the balance of arrears will be paid, and over what period is urgently required. In all of the discussions about payments of these long overdue refunds there have been no details of how the interest due on these cash refunds will be addressed.

“The TT Chamber looks forward to Minister Imbert’s mid-year budget review on the matter. The TT Chamber continues to be concerned about the negative impact this delay has on the business community – from small to large businesses, across all industries and sectors, and by extension the wider economy.”