Companies incorrectly add turnover tax to their bills

POSTED: 03/2/11 2:01 PM

St. Maarten – The 5 percent turnover tax is causing a direct hike in the cost of living for consumers at some stores, in spite of the fact that this tax has to be paid by businesses, not by their clients.

In January, this newspaper reported about real estate owners who had already added the 5 percent turnover tax to the monthly rent. At the time, the tax was only an approved plan on paper that was awaiting the moment it went into effect on February 11th.

A spokesman for the tax office said at the time, “The turnover tax is not supposed to be carried over to customers. The businesses have to pay this tax.”

But yesterday we were made aware of companies that are now adding the tax to their sales. The example we show in the picture is from a hardware store. On February 2nd, the company was charging zero tax on its sales, yesterday a charge of $0.50 appeared on a sales ticket for a $9.95 purchase. That is the 5 percent turnover tax.

A purchase at the nearby supermarket Le Grand Marché returned a ticket that did not have tax added to the tab.

Consumers reported to this newspaper also other instances where they had found the turnover tax added to their bills.

The tax inspectorate spokesman said in January that consumers who are confronted with the illegal addition of the turnover tax to their bills should write a letter to the tax inspectorate and enclose a copy of the receipt that shows the charge.

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