The delegations of St. Eustatius, Saba and Bonaire also met with the Ministry of Finance during their visit to The Hague for consultations with the Ministry of Interior Affairs and Kingdom Relations. However, when it became clear that the Ministry refused to provide information on the 2011 tax revenues, the Caribbean Netherlands delegation decided not to continue the talks and walked out of the meeting.
The main point on the agenda was to gain insight into the tax revenues that have been collected on the three islands. The islands deem this an absolute necessity, to report back to their respective communities and to establish their position on other tax-related issues, such as the soon to be expected implementation of property tax (vastgoedbelasting), the effect of the ABB general spending tax, and the double taxation on goods imported through Curaçao and St. Maarten. In first instance, the request to supply figures on the 2011 tax revenues was bluntly refused by Ministry representatives, St. Eustatius’ Commissioner of Finance Koos Sneek stated in a press release.
“First it was explained that these figures were not yet available, as they were mixed up with other figures, such as taxes collected over previous years and the social premiums the tax office collected on behalf of the Ministry of Health.
Another argument was that the islands could misinterpret the figures. “Information provided by local representatives of the tax inspectorate, however, makes it clear that the argument that the information is not available is incorrect, to say the least. They were simply instructed that they were prohibited to make it available.
The fact that the islands might misinterpret the information has been felt by the islands as kind of insulting,” Commissioner Sneek explained. “One might also expect that the administration of the Tax Inspection is set up in such a manner that any type of report can be produced at any given moment. Proof of this is the fact that in June last year already the State Secretary of Finance had been able to predict that the amount set for collection in 2011 would be exceeded by at least US $10 million,” Sneek stated.
Ministry representatives explained later during the meeting that they could not give the information without the State Secretary’s approval. When it became clear that the State Secretary could not be reached, the BES delegations decided not to continue the talks, and left the meeting.
Source: “The Daily Herald ” 2012-03-17