Approximately $7.8 billion in Value Added Tax (VAT) refunds is owed to VAT-registered businesses as of the end of March.
Finance Minister Colm Imbert made the revelation in parliament yesterday.
Responding to a question from Oropouche West MP Davendranath Tancoo, Imbert said the issue of VAT refunds was not new.
However, he pointed out that in May 2010, a total of $3 billion in VAT refunds was owed and that figure increased to $4.6 billion by September 2015.
He added this happened despite record levels of expenditure by the then UNC-led People’s Partnership coalition government.
Imbert said the PNM inherited close to $1.5 billion in outstanding VAT refunds when it assumed office after the September 7, 2015 general election.
The International Monetary Fund previously assessed there was a $4 billion gap in VAT collection.
Imbert said this was why Government was pressing ahead with implementing the Revenue Authority to reduce this gap and eliminate avenues for fraud.
He reiterated that Government is moving to clear VAT debts over the next three months.