SINT MAARTEN (POND ISLAND) – Minister Geerlings is presenting his Tax Transformation plan to all key stakeholders on Sint Maarten.
On May 23 and June 10th, the Minister of Finance Hon. Perry Geerlings presented the Government’s Tax Transformation Plan to the Social Economic Council (SER).
During the Minister’s presentation, Geerlings highlighted the urgent need for tax transformation and the way in which the transformation is planned to be carried out.
The SER actively advises the government on policies to sustainably develop Sint Maarten, with the aim of achieving an improved quality of life for the people of the country.
The SER represents all areas of society. The members of the board are representatives of employers, employees’ organizations, unions and independent experts. All board members were present during the sessions.
A similar presentation was also given to the Foundation Tax Committee on June 19th.
The Foundation Tax Committee’s main objective is to encourage the proper application of tax laws on Sint Maarten. The members of the committee are senior experts and executives in the field of Tax Advisory.
These presentations cover key stakeholders in the disciplines of tax, finance and economic matters. The purpose of the presentations is not only to present the Tax Transformation Plan, but to give the stakeholders the opportunity to review it, comment on it and contribute to it.
“Tax Transformation is long overdue. For years we have neglected to invest in the Tax Administration, our primary source of income. With the Tax Transformation we are beginning to create a financially sustainable Government,” Minister of Finance Hon. Perry Geerlings said on Monday.
“We will not increase taxes. We do not want to burden our loyal taxpaying citizens on which this country has been depending on for years, instead we will focus on the persons in the “grey economy” to also get them to pay their fair share,” Minister Geerlings pointed out.
According to the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the grey economy is expected to be in the order of 40% (or roughly Naf. 600 million) of the total economy on Sint Maarten (estimated at Naf 1.8 billion).
A significant amount of between Naf. 60 to 150 million per year goes uncollected.
“For years a portion of our society has not been contributing its fair share to the development of Sint Maarten on the backs of the loyal taxpayers, without taking proper corrective measures.
“We have to fix this! It is now time to help the ordinary hardworking man. Sint Maarten is relatively far too rich to allow the unfair distribution of wealth to continue,” the Minister of Finance Hon. Perry Geerlings explained.
With respect to the stakeholder presentations: “These are lively and very interactive presentations which allow the stakeholders to assess our plan and give us their valuable input, feedback and contributions,” the minister added.
Minister Geerlings said the presentations were very well received by both the SER and the Tax Committee, and that both organizations have indicated that they support the plan.
The Tax Transformation Plan is of strategic importance for the future of Sint Maarten and its citizens. The minister wants the plan to be widely understood and supported in society and started the stakeholder sessions as a form of transparency and openness in Government.
The Tax Transformation Plan is expected to take approximately three years. Realizing more income, without raising tax rates, is the main objective of this project and is meant to make the country’s financial and economic future healthy and sustainable.
Minister Geerlings will continue to present the plan to all other stakeholders in the coming weeks and months.
L to R: Damien Richardson (SER-Chair), Minister P. Geerlings, Eveline Henriquez-Dijkhoffz (SER-Vice Chair), John de Lannoy (advisor), Gerard Richardson (SER-Secretary General).