Minister of Finance, Camillo Gonsalves. (iWN file photo)

Only some EC$8 million was collected during the months-long tax amnesty that ended June 30, Minister of Finance, told a press conference in on Monday.

He said his ministry is working to have legal proceedings begun against the defaulters.

Gonsalves, who became Minister of Finance last November, said in his first Budget Address in January that he had 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 even as it has foregone EC$12 million in revenue as a result of a reduction in corporate and personal income taxes this year, he said.

The minister announced a three-month tax amnesty window, ending May 15, 2018, but later extended it to June 30, 2018.

But the finance minister told the media on Monday that only EC$8 million was collected from defaulters during the amnesty period.

“That $8 million falls short of what we expected to collect. Quite a few people did not take advantage of the amnesty,” Gonsalves said.

“Well, the second part of the amnesty deal, as I tried to explain at the time, is that if you don’t take advantage of the amnesty, we would have to come after you legally.”

He said his government’s first point of call would be entities that have not paid over value added tax receipts and pay-as-you-earn deductions.

“I want to inform today that we’ve given the necessary instruction for the Inland Revenue Department to contract with certain private lawyers here in St. Vincent and the to bolster the capacity of the Inland Revenue Department to effect these collections. And we are starting with VAT and PAYE and those cases, those charges are being prepared now, they will be shared, of course, with the necessary authorities,” Gonsalves said.

“But, it wasn’t a bluff. There was an amnesty, we notified everybody of what they owned in VAT and PAYE as well as income tax — and income tax is something that can be negotiated and we will get there, but we are starting with VAT and PAYE and we’ve hired lawyers and the taxman cometh.

“So I want to encourage those businesses and individuals that now they owe VAT and PAYE in significant amounts, I want to encourage them to give Inland Revenue a call. There is still time for you to avoid the route of litigation, avoid making lawyers rich and let’s just pay what is owed in that regard,” the finance minister said.

In early January, Prime Minister said government would “tackle vigorously” the various businesses and entities that are not current with their taxes.

He said there is a lot of talk about how much the government owes the private sector but told the media that as at Dec. 29, 2017, the central government was owed EC$301.8 million in revenue.

Of that amount, EC$177.4 million is the base tax owed across all categories of taxes and the remainder is made up of penalties — EC$26.88 million and interest — EC$97.5 million.

Of the EC$177.4 million owed in base tax, just over EC$85 million was corporation tax, EC$28.5 million in VAT, and withholding tax EC$5.2 million, the prime minister said.

9 replies on “Charges being drawn up against tax defaulter — Finance Minister”

  1. At the end of the day, a jail sentence is an option for defrauders but would never be used against high ranking ULP supporters, another sign of a corrupt and backward country.

  2. All the lawyers/liars used to handle these cases will be ULP supporters, many of whom also owe hundreds of thousands in unpaid taxes, who will only go after monies owed by NDP supporters, more signs of a corrupt and backward country.

  3. Vincentians always lament at how the state of the economy and what should be done better but no one wants to pay their taxes. How else do you want the government to improve the lives and livelihood of its people? Yet, we go to other countries like the USA and we don’t complain. The taxes there are incomparable but hey, we fall right in line!!!

    For example, the government had implemented a $1 when traveling to the Grenadines and the people complained. This tax is a norm in St. Kitts and Nevis; and Trinidad and Tobago. Is it that our Caribbean counterparts realize the necessity of taxation?

    It’s quite disheartening to read how much money is owed to the IRD and the NIS. I do hope that those two, and similar liked bodies will use the full extent of the law and recover ALL monies owed. This includes, from the captain to the cook…..

  4. Ricardo Francis says:

    Here are my concerns and issues with the above:

    1. Are members of the Gonsalves and Francis family paying their taxes?

    2. Are the ULP supporters paying their taxes?

    3. How long have the taxes been overdue?

    4. Are the lawyers and professionals in SVG paying their taxes/

    5. Does the government need to collect taxes to transfer to their cronies?

    6. where are the expense accounts for the Ministers of Government in St. Vincent and the Grenadines?

    7. Has Ralph Gonsalves paid his taxes?

    8. Has Camillo paid his taxes?

    9. What is the economic cost versus the benefit to the government to collect the taxes that are overdue?

    12. where is the official opposition of st. Vincent and the Grenadines on this issue?

    13. Are these taxes to be collected justifiable?

    14, Where are all the bank accounts of Ralph Gonsalves and the ULP?

    15. How many properties does Ralph Gonsalves own outside of St. Vincent and the Grenadines?

    16. Where is Godwin Friday on this issue?

    17. is this a targeted tax collection to satisfy a political agenda?

    18. Are there specific lawyers in St. Vincent and the Grenadines who are ULP supporters, who will be litigating on behalf of the government?

    19. what does the law say about tax collection?

    20. How long has this law been in place?

    21. What is the legal LIMITATION PERIOD under the law to collect taxes?

    Taxes are simply private funds transferred into public revenues. When it is in the pubic purse it can, eventually, be re-transferred into private hands of a few, in the name of corruption.

    It is important to pay taxes providing it is demonstrably justifiable in accordance with the prescription of the Rule of Law.

    The Socialist minded and socialist governments love to collect taxes since they see tax payers as working for the master. Taxes are safer in the tax payers pockets. We are an overtaxed nation.

    Ricardo Francis, Prime Minister of St. Vincent and the Grenadines in Waiting and in the Making

    1. Patricia Cummings- Dalton says:

      Ricardo, we the people thank you and welcome you to become Prime Minister. Your questions are quite in the correct order to require answers. Thank you for your helpful input, no one is more qualified to ask those questions than you as a family member.

    2. Judy Gonsalves Marks says:

      Recardo:

      (1) Most of your questions are redundant (1,7 & 8; 12 & 16, etc.)
      (2) As “prime minister in waiting” you should be an expert on the constitution and laws of SVG
      and answers some of your questions (e.g. 18 thru 21). Maybe then you can engage in an
      educated debate/discussion befitting a prime minister.
      (3) Read the 9th sentence “He said his government’s first point of call would be entities that have not
      paid over value added tax receipts and pay-as-you-earn deductions.” Don’t you consider collection
      of these $ justifiable (13,17) or do you think the entities should keep monies that don’t belong to them?
      (4) Do you refuse to pay taxes in Canada because “the Socialist minded and socialist governments love to
      collect taxes since they see tax payers as working for the master”?

  5. Ricardo Francis says:

    Patricia Cummings-Dalton, I respect and appreciate your comment. I am a member of the family but my main connection to the family was my grandmother, who is now in the great beyond. God Bless Her Soul! I asked her once what were views on my criticisms of Ralph, her son; she responded: ” That is between you and Ralph. It has nothing to do me.” I was considered her favourite grandchild. I am very grateful to her for her kindness, and love, always. She went to the great beyond with untold stories.This is something that they have always been up in arms about, for years.

    Ralph has always seen me as a threat and to some degree I am considered an outsider since I do not subscribe to their way of thinking. There is a lot some people do not know. Should the good lord and the great people of St. Vincent and the Grenadines entrust me with Prime Ministership. someday, Ralph and others will be dealt with to the fullest length of the law as long the evidences can be fully materialized.

    Ricardo Francis, Prime Minister of St. Vincent and the Grenadines in Waiting and in the Making

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