April 18, 2012
Member of Parliament George Pantophlet says that it was interesting to hear that the United States has a tax compliance of 55%. St. Maarten’s tax compliance is 35%. What will happen if on St. Maarten we could get an additional 20% or even 65% tax compliance? He is not looking for a miracle because he understands part of the problem and that is, not everyone is paying their fare share. He was informed that a former employee of the receiver’s office who was only doing their job by going after businesses that owed taxes in the millions was told that “they (the employee) was bad for the economy”. In other words if you pressure the large institutions it is not good for the economy. But you must go after the pensioners, the minimum wage earners and the middle class. Taxes must be paid but the way these persons are being pursued is inhumane. Can you imagine if you are unemployed? Can you imagine what the former Pelican employees who might probably owe taxes are experiencing as the tax collector (employed by the government who has them in this mess) comes knocking on their doors demanding payments? Don’t even talk about the pensioners who are barely surviving. And what about civil servants who can’t escape? What kind of payment schedule are they being offered? The next question is what kind of payment schedule are those institutions on who owe millions of guilders? But again tell the pensioner, the minimum wage earner or the middle class to pay up immediately or your home, car whatever you have will be seized. After much effort the Member of Parliament was able to get government to disclose that they are owed millions in casino fees that date back to 2001. What kind of payment arrangement do they have if any?
The real issue again is compliance. He is confronted every day by pensioners, minimum wage earners and the middle class who are being persecuted by the tax collector (the government). Don’t be fooled by government so called hands off approach. What is interesting is that government excuse for not going after the large institutions (it is not good for the economy) is because they provide large scale employment and contribute to government coffers. But do all of them pay the wage tax, AOV/AWW, AVZB, SVB and Turnover tax premiums? These premiums are withheld in whole and in part from the consumers. It would definitely be possible to reduce the Turnover tax if everyone was paying their fare share and possibly abolish it in the future. Remember they do not pay the turnover tax from their profits but collects it for their business operations so the consumer pays it over the counter and the business gets the 90% tax deductible. 35% of the population should not be carrying the weight of the other 65%. But this can only be prevented with tax compliance.