St. Maarten Finance Minister Shigemoto: Naming landlord on tax form is not mandatory

POSTED: 06/13/11 1:05 PM

St. Maarten – Renters do not have to inform the Tax Office who they pay rent to. This was confirmed Friday by Finance Minister Hiro Shigemoto as he answered a question posed by National Alliance faction leader William Marlin on June 6.

Marlin had asked the Minister to explain why the Tax Office had begun requesting that people report who they paid rent to and whether this was a policy of the government.

In reply the minister said, “The letter requesting a tax payer – natural person not being an entrepreneur/tenant of an apartment or any other immovable property – to submit information concerning the landlord to tax authorities is not based on a legally binding stipulation of the tax code, but is based on voluntary cooperation of the tax payer to provide the information concerned.”

Shigemoto did make it clear that while giving the information is not mandatory, the law does allow for the question to be asked so that government can truly identify everyone who should be paying tax and in what amount.

Article 45, paragraph 1 of the General National Ordinance on the application of national tax ordinances states, “In connection with the persons required to maintain an administration, as referred to in article 43, first paragraph, the obligations described in articles 40, 41, 42 and 43 shall be applicable by analogy for the taxation of third parties. Persons required to maintain an administration are natural persons operating a company or exercising a profession, natural persons who are responsible for withholdings at source and corporations.”

The minister also said Friday that asking the question is not new policy of the government.

“The Inspector of Taxes has an autonomous authority to enforce the tax law according to his own views, an authority based on the law itself and not prescribed by government. The Inspector of Taxes is authorized to investigate any taxable income, irrespective whether it concerns one or the other group of tax payers or not. This range is within the discretion of the Inspector of Taxes,” Shigemoto explained.


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