Taxman given greenlight to take legal action against tax defaulters
The taxman is coming!
That is the word from Minister of Finance Camillo Gonsalves who said last week that the Inland Revenue Department (IRD) has been instructed to retain lawyers to help go after tax defaulters.
Gonsalves said that earlier this year, the government announced a tax amnesty and encouraged persons to settle their arrears with the IRD.
He said that comptroller of the IRD Kelvin Pompey reported that over the amnesty period, EC$8 million was collected from people who settled, but that fell short of the expected amount.
The IRD is said to be owed $169.9 million in unpaid taxes. When penalties and interest payments are included, the arrears balloon to approximately $300 million.
The Finance Minister said there are still quite a few people who did not take advantage of the amnesty, but the second part of the deal was that if you did not take advantage, the government would come after you legally.
“I explained that the people who have not paid over their VAT and PAYE, which is monies you collect in trust to hand over to the government, is not your money, that those would be the first point of call for the Inland Revenue Department.
“I want to inform we have given the instructions to the Inland Revenue Department to contract with private lawyers to bolster the capacity of the Inland Revenue Department to effect these collections starting with VAT and PAYE,” Gonsalves told journalists last week.
He said that charges are being prepared and they are being shared with the necessary authorities.
“It wasn’t a bluff, there was an amnesty and we notified persons and we have hired lawyers and the taxman is coming,” stressed Gonsalves who is encouraging businesses and individuals who owe to give the IRD a call.
“There is still time to avoid the route of litigation,” Gonsalves assured.