POND ISLAND–Increases in the taxes levied on hotel rooms, timeshare units and car rentals are under consideration by Government. The implementation of a departure tax is also still on the books. The increases will most likely take effect in January 2018.
Finance Minister Richard Gibson Sr. was quick to point out, on Wednesday, that the increases are not upping of taxes, but rather it is the “indexation” of the taxes “to bring them up to date” after years at the same level. There are “not necessarily increases, but it is for those taxes to have the same purchasing power it had before,” said Gibson Sr. “It is more indexing.”
It is crucial for government to generate revenues, said the Minister. “Revenues remain scarce and need to be augmented.”
The increased taxes must occur through law changes. A series of amendments have already been drafted and are undergoing scrutiny before submission to Parliament. Government needs to get the tax changes passed by Parliament before the estimated revenues can be added to the 2018 Budget.
Gibson Sr. compared the room tax on Aruba with the local yield. Aruba collects some 23.5 per cent of the bill of each hotel guest, while St. Maarten collects five per cent. “Something has to be done to make our room taxes more in line with the region,” he said.
The best route for the country “to still remain competitive, but increase our yields,” is necessary.
Source: The Daily Herald https://www.thedailyherald.sx/islands/65816-increases-pending-to-room-car-rental-timeshare-taxes