Essay Competition 2019



The Barbados Revenue Authority is a member of the Caribbean Organisation of Tax Administrators (COTA). The Sixth Essay Competition of COTA is a major element of the public education component of the COTA work programme which is hosted biennially. The Competition is aimed at encouraging youths to become knowledgeable about the tax administration function as potential taxpayers and decision-makers in the private and public spheres, as well as to engender an interest in this field as a career choice. The COTA 2019 Essay Competition is intended to encourage students to become familiar with the work of their country’s tax administration and to obtain their views on modernizing tax administration in the digital age so as to maximize tax revenues.


Essay Topic

The rapid growth and acceptance of Information Communication Technology (ICT) worldwide has changed the nature of business transactions and organizational structures. Today, one speaks of digitalization and digitization in respect to almost all aspects of modern life. Tax administration is no exception. The conversation has now shifted to the digital transformation of taxation. Imagine a world in which a tax-payer can pay his or her taxes using a favourite App or the tax administrator can look forward to closing the tax gap through higher rates of voluntary compliance. In the digital age, taxpayers can anticipate automatic, user friendly, real-time response-driven experiences while tax administrators can focus on a more connected and transparent tax compliance process. Accordingly, the 2019 essay topic is as follows -

Digitalization – Moving today’s tax administration beyond the Twenty-First Century.”

Criteria for Participation

Competing students in the COTA 2019 Essay Competition should be between the ages of 14 – 16 years old. Essays should be between 800-1000 words, typewritten in English using Times New Roman (font size 12) on letter-sized paper, with 1.5 line spacing and fully justified.


Each competing school may submit up to three (3) entries from students in Forms 3 to 5 and there must be only one (1) essay entry per student.


Evaluation Scheme

The marking system for the Competition will be based on the following schema:

Evaluation Criteria


Knowledge and understanding of the tax administration function, the country’s tax structure and the digital transformation process


Relevance and depth of research

Quality of argumentation

Ingenuity of ideas and use of examples/illustrations

Use of proper grammar and punctuation













Credit will be given to essays that –

  • demonstrate reasonable knowledge and understanding of the country’s tax administration function and tax structure as well as the digital transformation process;
  • reflect logical presentation of facts as well as sound argumentation; and
  • reflect the use of proper grammar and punctuation.


Ingenuity of ideas and the use of examples or illustrations will be rewarded.


Submission Information

The cover page of each submission must contain:

  1. the name of the CARICOM Member State and
  2. the name of the School
  3. the name, age and grade (form) of the Competing Student.


Schools are required to submit Essays to the Revenue Commissioner, Barbados Revenue Authority in a sealed envelope on or before 30 April 2019. Winners will be announced in May 2019, and will be notified through the school. The winners for the Regional portion of the competition will be announced in June 2019.

Essays must be original - Organisers reserve the right to disqualify any entry deemed inappropriate for publication, at their discretion. All essays and rights to the publication of the essays becomes the property of organisers.


The prizes for the COTA 2019 Essay Competition are set out below:

Local Prizes



o First Prize

o Second Prize

o Third Prize




BBD$ 750.00

The school of the first placed winner will receive a plaque and cash prize.


Regional Prizes



o First Prize

o Second Prize

o Third Prize


US$1,000.00 and Trophy

US$ 700.00

US$ 500.00

The schools attended by the Winners will also receive a prize.