Wescott-Williams: “New tax system cannot be introduced overnight”

POSTED: 02/23/15 1:07 AM

St. Maarten —A new tax system cannot be introduced overnight, notes leader of the Democratic Party faction in Parliament MP Sarah Wescott-Williams, who said she intends to discuss this new tax system in a meeting with the Minister of Finance. MP Wescott-Williams pointed out that the need for introducing a new tax system has been in discussions for years but there must be consultations and there are a lot of different aspects to take into consideration.

While acknowledging that the new tax system cannot be introduced overnight, the DP leader said a start must be made. “I believe that the minister of finance is serious in moving ahead with this matter,” the MP said.

Wescott-Williams said information has been received from the minister of finance during the budget debate on his proposal for an integrated tax administration and the improvement of the entire tax administration. “A short sentence in that proposal says that once that re-organization is done then we are moving over to looking at that new tax system. I said Minister I think you can start to move simultaneously. Once you know where you want to get; once you know the bigger plan for the whole tax system for St. Maarten then you can start to make steps,” MP Wescott-Williams explained.

The DP leader is also interested in knowing whether the new tax system will mean taking out all the direct taxations and introducing one package of indirect taxations. “Are we going to maintain what we have right now which is a mix? When we say simplification what does it mean to the income tax payer? What are we going to do? Make it a much flatter system where you pay a percentage and not have these issues of deductibles?” MP Wescott-Williams said these are all points of discussions that must be addressed prior to the introduction of any new tax system for St. Maarten.

“We don’t have to reinvent the wheel over and over. Institutions like the IMF and the Central Bank for Curacao and S. Maarten have given us some direct pointers in terms of some of the things we need to do in this country when we talk about economic development. So pick those up, it has been done, it has been looked at,” MP Wescott-Williams said. She provided a list of issues like the labour laws, the cost of doing businesses on the island and the time it takes to grant or refuse a permit on the island and said the same principle can be applied to these cases.

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