Member of Parliament George wants to know how the process on the integration of the Inspectorate of Taxes and the St. Maarten Receiver’s office is progessing. There are reports with promises being made to integrate these offices. More than 5 years have expired and no tangible results have manifested. Excuses are many and this is unfortunate. On another issue but which he considers very relative, is that In a report prepared by the General Audit Chamber of October 2014 it states and he quotes: ‘The Minister of Finance originally included five objectives in the 2011 Budget: 1 improvement of tax assessment and collection, 2 simplification of tax system, 3 harmonization of the tax system with French Saint Martin, 4 increasing compliance and eliminating free riders, 5 review of the tax holiday facilities” end of quote. He wants to know what is happening with the harmonization of the tax system with French Saint Martin. It is prudent that Parliament be informed as to what is being done to make this a reality. Is it that permission is needed from the Republic and Holland? What are the bottlenecks? He again quotes the report of the General Audit Chamber: “There has been little or no attention given to the objectives of harmonizing the tax system with French Saint Martin, eliminating free-riders and reforming of the Tax Holiday facilities end of quote. What is alarming and he quotes again: “Despite the use of external support, and issuance of various reports and advice, substantial elements required to strengthen the organization of the Tax Department have not been achieved. The Inspectorate, the Receiver and the Audit and Criminal Investigation Department (Controle en sporing) still operate as separate entities (individual islands)” end of quote.
The Member of Parliament wants to know if new ICT- systems have been implemented. And what is being done to upgrade staff and management? Late last year some assistants were imported from Holland. He is curious to know how many persons were brought in and in which departments were they placed, for how long are their contracts valid, how much are they being paid and what are their benefits? Do they have a counterpart? It should not be that costs to operate the tax office is increased and this is not reflected in proper collection. We are in 2015 and the Inspectorate is working on 2012 Taxes.
What is the reason for this? We need to know what kind of system is being use and whether it has to change to improve the functioning of the inspectorate of taxes. Since the draft Budget for 2015 has been submitted to the Governor he believes the Minister of Finance can begin preparing the answers to the questions which will be forthcoming. Forewarned is to the forearmed.