Tax evaders issued with stern warning
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March 18, 2011
Tax evaders issued with stern warning

Tax evaders have been issued a stern warning by the Inland Revenue Department (IRD): Settle all outstanding taxes or face legal action.{{more}}

Kelvin Pompey, Comptroller of IRD, in an interview with SEARCHLIGHT Wednesday, March 16, said his department had been threatening action against tax evaders over the years, but this year, they have the capacity and resources and will be taking action against delinquent tax payers.

“There are individuals and companies who owe the government millions, and we just cannot sit back anymore and ignore this fact,” Pompey said.

“We are going to have resolution – is either the tax payer does it on their terms, that is they come in and work it out, or we do it our way and that is to levee their property, bank account assets and so forth,” he continued.

The tax official said that under Section 113 of the Income Tax Act, “Any person who fails to pay any tax when it becomes due and payable whether on an assessment made on him or which he was required to deduct from payment to any other person, the comptroller may file with the bailiff a warrant certified by the comptroller as correct of the tax due and payable and unpaid.”

The Act further states that “A warrant filed under subsection 1 shall be treated by the bailiff as having the same effect as a similar judgment given by the court of competent jurisdiction in favour of the comptroller for a debt in the amount specified in the warrant and the bailiff should then proceed to levee on the property of the person named in the warrant to such extent as is necessary for the recovery of the unpaid tax and to meet any proper charges of the bailiff.”

Pompey said that this will be the section the IRD will be using to deal with delinquent tax payers and added that the legal department and Registrar of the High Court were now part of the team to deal with tax evaders.

“We would be going forth in terms of dealing with tax defaulters.”

Inland Revenue and income generated through from Value Added Tax (VAT) are the single largest revenue earners for the government, contributing about fifty per cent of the current revenue, Pompey explained.

“This means that income tax collection is critical to government, because at the end of the day, government does not have a pile of money somewhere.”

He further explained that government spending depends on the payment of taxes.

Self employed persons and some professionals have been among those identified as being tax defaulters, Pompey said.

“The sad reality is that the employees are bearing the brunt of the tax burden, because for them, every month the taxes are deducted and nothing can be done about that.”

Pompey, however, urged all tax payers to make use of the opportunity to come in and talk with persons at the IRD.

“From where we sit, we are sending out an olive branch; we are saying guys, we may have issues you haven’t filed, you haven’t paid. We want to do action, come let’s sit down and reason together and come to an amicable arrangement,” he said.

“Because outside of that, we would have no choice but to use the provisions under the Income Tax enforcement Act, because it is unfair to those who are paying taxes for the department to allow others to get away,” Pompey contended. (DD)