Hassink wants electronic cash registers for retailers

POSTED: 07/11/13 12:23 PM

St. Maarten – The Finance Ministry has measures in mind to increase tax compliance, Minister Hassink said at yesterday’s press briefing. While he did not give an indication where compliance stands at the moment, the former and late chairman of the financial supervisor Cft Hans Weitenberg has said in the past that it hovers between 30 and 35 percent “and that St. Maarten could easily collect twice as much tax.”

Minister Hassink is not convinced that this is the case, but he did indicate that compliance is his “favorite subject.” “Measures need to be taken to make sure people pay what they have to pay,” he said.

The minister referred to a survey in Curacao that showed that tax compliance among retailers was around 35 percent to tackle that situation, the country now obliges retailers to use electronic cash registers, a measure Minister Hassink is also considering for St. Maarten.

Another measure to increase compliance is making sure that all businesses are properly registered. To track down unregistered businesses, Hassink intends to compare the database of utilities company Gebe with the database of the tax office.

Minister Hassink down played statements made in the past by the Chamber of Commerce that 50 percent of local businesses are not registered. “You could have a thousand small businesses that represent just 3 percent of the economy,” he said, adding that in the meantime the registration system at the Chamber of Commerce has improved. “That will give a better insight in the number of registered businesses,” he said.

The minister announced that those businesses that are not paying their taxes might expect in the near future “a friendly letter” to remind them of their duties.

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