Today’s Editorial: Doing things right

POSTED: 03/22/11 12:26 PM

Finance Minister Hiro Shigemoto seems to mean business about having the amended turnover tax legislation bring in money without placing additional strain on the people of St. Maarten. His way to communicate this is drawing up a Ministerial Decree in which he announces a 5, 000 guilder fine for every receipt where companies display the tax separate from the cost of the item.

The Minister and the tax department have rightly joined us in pointing out that TOT is not a sales tax and should not appear as such, but companies have persisted. In fact some have gone further and are charging more than five percent. Both acts are illegal and shameful and we urge companies to stop this immediately.

Our one great fear though is how will the government administration enforce this decree? Restaurants where we have seen the separation are not subject to price controls. Also since clothing, electronics and jewelry are not on the list of price controlled items, what then is the legal basis for checking to see if stores with those goods are complying?

We ask this not to poke holes or blindly criticize what the Minister has done, but as part of the process of thinking along that the entire nation must now see as its responsibility, especially since finalizing a new tax structure is something the government is busy with this year. It is to our collective benefit that we all get and stay involved.


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