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St. Maarten government hopes to boost income through effective tax collection

THURSDAY, 17 NOVEMBER 2011

PHILIPSBURG–Prime Minister Sarah Wescot-Williams says the clearing up of backlog at the Tax Department and more efficient ways of collection are expected to increase government’s income for 2012.

Asked by the press about the NAf. 11,633,003 in the draft budget for next year compared to this year, Wescot-Williams said better collection by the department featured prominently. She hastened to add that the increased revenue would not come from any new taxes.

Government arrived at the figure of NAf. 432,549,600 for the 2012 budget, up from this year’s total of NAf. 420,916,597, because of increases in expenditures in some areas and decreases in others.

The draft budget also includes projections for the operations of the councils of state, General Audit Chamber, Ombudsman and Advisory Council, based on their reports. Those amounts will be covered by contributions from government-owned companies, not from the general treasury.

The draft budget is still under scrutiny by the Committee for Financial Supervision CFT, a team from which is currently in the country on this mission. The CFT has questions about the build-up of the extra income in the draft budget and this is an area under review.

There reportedly have been preliminary suggestions from the CFT about employing a tax consultant to review government’s collection methods and new policies. However, this apparently comes with objections from government’s side, because the candidate is currently a CFT member and a practicing tax accountant in St. Maarten, constituting a major conflict of interest, in government’s view.

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