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Statement from Barbados Revenue Authority in response to the publication of the Auditor General’s Report for the Financial Year ended March 31, 2021, by the local media.

07/13/2022 10:21 AM
Barbados Revenue Authority Press Releases

Statement from Barbados Revenue Authority in response to the publication of the Auditor General’s Report for the Financial Year ended March 31, 2021, by the local media.  

On Saturday, July 9, 2022, sections of the Auditor General’s report for the financial year ended March 31, 2021, relating to the Barbados Revenue Authority (“the Authority”) were published by the local media. Unfortunately, the publications without the necessary clarification have the potential to undermine the reputation of the Authority and the matter has therefore been reviewed by the Authority’s Internal Audit team.  As a consequence, it is imperative that the Authority provide the relevant context and clarification.

 

Reported $6 Million Difference between the Authority’s Reports and the Auditor General’s Findings

In summary, the report indicated that there was a difference of $6.7 million between two reports produced by the Authority namely, the Treasury/Bridge Street Mall Cashier Report dated September 22, 2020 and the Treasury/Bridge Street Mall Central Bank Cheque listing for the same date.

The transaction referred to was entered at the Oistins location and not at the Bridge Street Mall location.  The amount under review of $6.7M, from a single cheque, can therefore be found in the Oistins Cashiers Report which reconciled to the Oistins Central Bank Cheque listing dated September 21, 2020 and not September 22, 2020.  Therefore, there is no unreconciled difference in this regard and all cheques were accounted for, and all funds deposited.

The consolidated information from the Cashiers Reports and the combined Central Bank Cheque listings across all locations reveal that all balances for the dates noted reconciled and no discrepancies were found.

 

Unapplied Wire Transfers

In summary, the report indicated that the Authority has reported a quantum of unapplied funds.

Wire transfers as a medium to pay amounts due and owing to the Authority were used primarily as a payment method in respect of Land Tax.  Prior to and even more so during the period of restricted movement arising from the COVID-19 pandemic, the use of wire transfers to settle obligations increased significantly.  Unfortunately, this medium had its limitations, in terms of the requisite descriptive detail being available to appropriately apply the funds to the relevant taxpayer accounts in a timely manner.  Unapplied funds are held in a suspense account until the details are available to allow for the updating of the taxpayer’s account.

The Authority embarked on an aggressive outreach campaign and taxpayers who used the wire transfer/bank to bank transfer payment option were asked to submit information to the Authority via email at epayments@bra.gov.bb or through the Authority’s Contact Centre (246)429-3829, so that the funds could first be identified and then appropriately applied.

In addition, the Authority has aimed to remove the use of this payment option temporarily from its publications, with a view to limiting these transfers.

Notably, the Authority is currently implementing a direct payment method for both Land Tax and TAMIS transactions, to allow for direct account application upon payment, to avoid a repeat of this unfortunate situation and to remove the delays currently experienced in updating taxpayer accounts using the current payment options. Thus, the matter has been urgently and aggressively addressed.

To date, the Authority has received information for a significant number of taxpayers and the payments have been credited to their accounts. 

It is always important to note that an audit is a retrospective look at an entity’s results and operations and therefore the comments in the issued report may have already been addressed, may be under review or may no longer be relevant.

The management of the Authority remains committed to its stewardship whilst facilitating the ease of doing business and ensuring that the tax reporting is accurate and complete. The Authority will continue to adapt to the evolving environment in which it operates and endeavours to identify and implement necessary improvements.