Minister of Finance pays first official visit to departments

POSTED: 03/22/11 12:23 PM

St. Maarten – Finance Minister Hiro Shigemoto paid his first official visit to the Departments which comprise the new Tax Office on Monday. The department consists of the Inspectorate of Taxes, the Department of Audit and Criminal Investigation (taxes), and the Receiver’s Office.

The visit was so Shigemoto could introduce himself and members of his cabinet, namely Cleveland Beresford and Dwayne President who are both Policy Advisors within the Minister’s cabinet.

The Minister also introduced the recently appointed Acting Head of the New Tax Office, Cedric Josepa who was appointed as Acting Head until a new head has been recruited and appointed. Josepa was also appointed as the head of Fiscal Affairs until January 1, 2011. He has experience as head of the Inspectorate of Taxes of the former Netherlands Antilles and was director of Fiscal Affairs for the former Netherlands Antilles.

Josepa will be responsible for change management within the three departments in order to merge all three into the new Tax Office.  He will be working with all three management teams in order to accomplish this. He will also be responsible for building up the department of Management Support within the new Tax Office as well jointly recruiting the necessary personnel within the new tax office in order for the service to the general public can be improved.

Shigemoto called on the management and staff to cooperate with the newly appointed manager in order to help him get all the units pointed in the same direction of striving to attain the common goals of providing optimal service to the public, increasing compliance and of course working together to bring in some 461 million guilders in 2011. With the management and staff of the department of audit and criminal investigation (tax) similar sentiments were expressed and Shigemoto promised to place more emphasis on beefing up that department especially considering they are currently operating only at half of the staff needed to function optimally.   An optimal level of staffing for the aforementioned department is required in order to carry out the amount of audits in order to control that all are paying their fair share and to assist where necessary to increase compliance.

The last stop was the Receiver’s Office.  Following the introductions Shigemoto stressed the importance of the Receiver’s Office together with the other three departments to collect the 461 million guilders that will eventually be approved on the 2011 budget. The long lines at the Receiver’s Office and the newly introduced “drop box” where customers can leave their payments with the necessary forms in a sealed envelope with their name, crib number and contact number behind was also discussed. The drop box is checked periodically and taken into the back office and processed. Once processing is completed customers are called to collect their receipt.

Other ways of improving the service to the customers in the near future and innovative ways of recruiting staff were also discussed.

“It was a fruitful introductory Monday afternoon spent with the new tax office which culminated in discussing solutions to some of the problems the departments are facing,” Shigemoto said at the end of his working visit.

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