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St. Maarten utility company and tax department databases to be compared to find delinquent businesses

THURSDAY, 11 JULY 2013

~ Government looking to introduce electronic cash registers ~

PHILIPSBURG–In an effort to find and pursue businesses that are not paying taxes, the database of utilities company GEBE will be compared to the tax department database.

Businesses that are registered at the utilities company for light and water, but have no activity at the tax department, will be sent “a friendly letter” to register and pay their taxes. “The letter will be sent out before the end of this year,” said Finance Minister Martin Hassink.

This is one of the measures the Minister will take to ensure that all businesses are registered to pay taxes and increase tax compliance. Hassink said increasing compliance will be one of his focuses in office as the more taxable subjects who don’t comply; the more others will have to pay to cover the gap.

Another measure is introducing electronic cash registers as is being done in Curacao. The Minister alluded to a study done in Curacao to determine compliance among retailers. The study found that only 35 per cent of this group of businesses was compliant, which he said is “very low.” To increase compliance, Curacao has introduced an initiative with electronic cash registers that retailers now have to use. Hassink said he is looking into introducing the same in St. Maarten.

He will further look into this possibility during his next visit to Curacao. He already had discussions with the Tax Accountants Bureau BAP, which is in favour of the measure.

When asked whether the utilities company has agreed to share its database, Hassink said a letter has been sent to GEBE about this and, by law, it is required to share the information.

Source: The Daily Herald, St. Maarten

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