Not possible to collect old tax-arrears, Tuitt says

POSTED: 08/16/13 1:13 PM

St. Maarten – The tax inspectorate is no longer able to collect outstanding taxes prior to 2006. Former Finance Minister Roland Tuitt said yesterday that a ministerial decree regulating this matter has been published in the National Gazette. The only remaining option for the tax office is to offset refunds against these old tax arrears.

“The minister of finance will be better off doing the job that his function entails than trying to undo all the previous government put in place,” Tuitt said.

The decision to write of old tax debts has to do with inaccurate information in the computer system. “Most of the amounts in the system were estimates that are more than five years old and cannot be collected because they have to go through a protest process,” Tuitt said.

The former minister said that attempts to collect these tax arrears are pointless because statistics show that collection was up to now successful in less than half a percent of all cases. “In any business this is considered inefficient,” he said. “By giving a relief, businesses and individuals will have more money to spend and drive the economy.”

Parliament still has to approve legislation to take the old tax arrears off the books. “I urge the finance minister to follow upon this,” Tuitt said. “The draft law should be at the Council of Advice. After that a final report can be made and the law can be sent to the parliament.”

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