The tax amnesty granted by Minister of Finance Camillo Gonsalves in February has been extended to June 30.
The minister announced the extension in Parliament on Thursday, even as he said that companies and individuals owing the government value added and pay-as-you-earn taxes are yet to respond to the amnesty.
The tax amnesty should have expired on May 15.
Speaking in Parliament on Thursday, Gonsalves said, “In response to the continuing demand and in response to the fact that the four largest accounting firms have asked for a little more time because they were taking some time to bring some of the corporate accounts, in particular, current, they thought that the amnesty period was a little short and they have asked for an extension of the amnesty period.”
He noted that the extension gives tax delinquents an additional six weeks.
“I am advised by the accounting houses that that would be sufficient time for them to get their house in order.”
He told parliament that while he did not want to make a full presentation then, he wanted to thank the 469 companies and individuals that have taken advantage of the amnesty period to go to the Inland Revenue Department to make their account current or make payment arrangements.
“Unfortunately, Mr. Speaker, to date, the majority of those persons have fairly small arrears in the property area and in corporate income tax. And you recall in the budget debate there was a discussion in particular about the arrears on VAT and PAYE and the individuals and companies that are in arrears on VAT and PAYE, but to date, have not yet taken advantage of the amnesty period. I hope that some of those individuals are the ones that are asking for more time with their accountants to get matter sorted.”
Gonsalves encouraged the companies and individuals to make their accounts current so that they can all play their part in the development of St. Vincent and the Grenadines.
The finance minister had announced the amnesty in his Feb. 8 Budget Address, even as he ordered the Inland Revenue Department “to pursue tax delinquents with renewed focus and vigour” this year.
The order came as the government moved to collect EC$169.9 million in unpaid taxes while foregoing EC$12 million in revenue as a result of reduction in corporate and personal income taxes this year.