THE HAGUE–The Committee for Financial Supervision CFT actively supports St. Maarten’s efforts to increase the tax compliance and strengthen the Tax Office with more capacity. The CFT sought attention for the issue during talks in The Hague this week.
The CFT may be very supportive where it regards efforts to increase tax compliance, but the committee is critical about the transparency of the St. Maarten government-owned companies and their timely supplying of annual accounts.
“More transparency of the government-owned companies is needed,” said Bakker at a press conference in The Hague on Wednesday. The CFT has been asking for the companies’ annual accounts for several years to enable the committee to assess whether these companies present a risk to the national budget. Annual accounts have not been forthcoming as they should. In fact, the companies are badly falling behind.
The St. Maarten government-owned companies are not presenting a risk to the country’s budget because they are doing relatively well, unlike in Curaçao. Obtaining the documents is not a top priority for the CFT, in light of the risk that the companies may present to the budget it is nonetheless important, explained Bakker.
The CFT lacks the legal basis to fully incorporate the financial management of the government-owned companies in its task to supervise the country’s finances, but naturally the committee is interested in the financial status of these companies due to the influence this may have on the national budget.
Supervision on the government-owned companies is a task of the St. Maarten Corporate Governance Council (CGC). The CFT has been in contact with the CGC. The CFT has also made “loud and clear” to the St. Maarten Government that it also has a role to play as shareholder, also in securing dividends from the government-owned companies to increase much-needed revenues.
“The tax compliance and the collection of taxes must improve,” said Bakker. “This highly necessary for government to generate sufficient revenues to pay for its expenditures, he continued. “The low tax compliance and the functioning and understaffing of the Tax Office are ‘nothing new,’” he said.
St. Maarten’s growing economy should have resulted in more tax revenues, which is barely the case. “Something is not going right,” said Bakker, who mentioned the large efforts in Curaçao to increase tax compliance. In Curaçao a team of 60 persons is now active in this area. “This involves quite an investment and of course you need the money to do that.”
The CFT has again sought attention for St. Maarten’s tax system, the lack of capacity and the need for assistance during its talks in The Hague. The CFT is most certainly in favour of the Netherlands providing assistance in this area, said Bakker. He confirmed that positive results have been booked, but couldn’t say what commitments were exactly made.
Source: Daily Herald Active support CFT for more capacity tax office