PHILIPSBURG—Finance Minister the for the Government of St. Maarten the Honourable Perry Geerlings and Director of Belastingdienst Caribisch Nederland (B/CN) in Bonaire Drs. Nichalin Martina agreed on Thursday this week to extending the period of cooperation between the B/CN and St. Maarten to assist with strengthening the Tax office and improving tax compliance within the Tax Department on St. Maarten.
Both have agreed that Bonaire and St. Maarten’s Tax Office will also broaden their collaboration to include an exchange program for personnel which is geared towards providing them with a unique opportunity to cultivate professional relationships and to further promote the sharing of ideas on enhancing the service level of the Tax Department on St. Maarten.
Minister Geerlings hosted Drs. Martina for a meeting during which the two discussed the challenges and opportunities that exist for St. Maarten as it undergoes the process of revamping its Tax Administration. Bonaire’s Tax Office has been instrumental in exchanging best practices and support to the Tax Department on St. Maarten. That collaboration has had an added value based on the BCN’s wealth of experience and success in restructuring its own tax administration which it started in 2013.
A key point brought forward during the meeting was Drs. Martina’s report on the benefit of the Customs Department where it pertains to improving the accuracy and efficiency of data collection. Minister Geerlings reemphasised his vision to provide the Tax department with the means to recieve an accurate accounting of what comes into the island and said this is essential if we are to improve the efficiency in our tax collection.
According to Minister Geerlings the information provided by Drs. Martina further strengthens his position that the Customs Department would be a valuable asset in the improvement of tax collection if it is returned under the Administrative responsibility of the Ministry of Finance. Bonaire’s Tax Office’s model includes the Customs Department.
Bonaire has made substantial progress in upgrading its Tax Administration and have proven to be a vital partner in helping the St. Maarten Tax Office as it undergoes its own improvements. A team from Bonaire’s Tax Office recently completed a quick scan of the Tax Office on St. Maarten as part of the process to improve its functionality. Amongst the plans for improving the services of the Tax Office on St. Maarten, is making more procedures electronic and reducing the need for clients to visit the Tax Department.
The Tax Department of the Caribbean Netherlands in Bonaire B/CN is part of the Belastingdienst Nederland. The BCN consists of both the Tax Authorities and the Customs Caribbean Netherlands and has offices on Bonaire, Saba and Sint Eustatius and provides support to Curacao and Aruba in the area of tax collection.