PHILIPSBURG–St. Maarten Chamber of Commerce and Industry (COCI) is in favour of tax reform and increasing the country’s tax base, COCI board president Jennifer Carty told Members of Parliament (MPs) on Tuesday.
Carty’s statements came during Tuesday’s meeting of Parliament’s Permanent Committee of Tourism, Economic Affairs, Transport and Telecommunication. The session was a continuation of one held on February 16.
In the previous meeting, independent MP Christophe Emmanuel asked COCI about its ideas to level the business playing field. He posed this using a hypothetical question: What would be COCI’s advice to government?
“Tax reform, increasing tax base and making it applicable to a wider proportion of the population … [and – Ed.] equal access to business credit for entrepreneurs through banking reforms via the Central Bank [of Curaçao and St. Maarten],” said Carty on Tuesday.
When specifically asked about the potential introduction of a value-added tax (VAT), Carty said, “VAT can only be considered in replacement of a turn-over tax (TOT) of five per cent, which is an indirect form of tax, while VAT is a direct tax on goods sold and services provided. This will help broaden the tax base, increase the money inflow into the administration’s coffers and will help shoulder the burden of current unfair tax levies of TOT being paid by local businesses. It will also reduce the cost of doing business locally, thereby increasing investments into our economy.”
COCI is “pro-tax revision”, said Carty, adding that this must be based on extensive research.
“We do not believe in having the VAT and the TOT … We believe that having two tax structures would be absolutely detrimental to the economy,” she said.
In the previous meeting, MP Grisha Heyliger-Marten of United People’s (UP) party requested a break-down of the more than 9,000 registered businesses in default.
Businesses can be in default if they owe one year or more in COCI fees or if their information is not up to date for a number of reasons, such as a director being deceased and those in charge of closing the business have not done so.
There are 9,125 businesses that have outstanding annual fees, while some 145 businesses have no director on file, said Carty.
Bron: Daily Herald