MONDAY, 28 JANUARY 2013
~ Staff receive certificates, donate to foundations ~
PHILIPSBURG–The Tax Administration collected NAf. 20 million more in 2012 compared to the previous year, Finance Minister Roland Tuitt said during the organization’s New Year reception on Friday afternoon.
Applauding the staff for their efforts, Tuitt said as Finance Minister he is determined to enhance St. Maarten’s financial situation by improving the functioning of the Tax Administration and try to render it more effective and efficient in the execution of its tasks.
The reception was organized by the Tax Social Foundation, which donated proceeds from a walkathon it held last year to Crystal’s Children’s Home and the I Can Foundation. Tax Administration employees were also presented with certificates for successfully completing an upgrading course.
Tax Administration Head Geert Bergsma said to help the Tax Administration conduct its work in a more professional manner, training was held in a basic course on taxes. The refreshment course on fiscal techniques and audit for “aanslagregelaars” and auditors came to an end on Friday when the certificates were presented.
Workers learnt about taxes and fiscal issues, but Bergsma said it’s not just learning that’s important. “It’s learning what to do with what you learn and learning while you learn things that matter. Through learning and keeping up to date we can do our jobs better and we all benefit from that.”
Bergsma said 2012 was the second full year that we the Tax Administration of St. Maarten performed its tasks as one entity within the still young country St. Maarten.
The Tax Administration consists of the Inspectorate Department, Receivers Department and the Department for Audit and Criminal Investigation. “We are working together out of two different locations. It is our dream that in the future we can work in one building,” he said. The Tax Administration managed to further strengthen its workforce, and welcomed different colleagues from the Dutch Tax Authority.
He said there is still a lot of work to do to further strengthen the Tax Administration. “The plan of approach for further strengthening the tax administration is ready and is up for approval to our minister. A small project team will be established to coordinate the effort. To improve compliancy and customer service is the title of our year plan. The coming year 2013, the tax administration will have two main focal points: first of all compliancy. We definitely need to broaden the base of tax payers and make sure that everyone pays their fair share. The ambition of the Tax Administration is to maintain and strengthen the willingness of taxpayers to comply with their legal obligations. Compliant behaviour manifests itself in the fact that citizens and companies register themselves as taxpayers and declare their taxes on time, that the declarations are accurate and complete and that the taxpayers pay due taxes in a timely manner,” he said.
This project will start next month. “Secondly, customer service; nobody likes to pay taxes, but we can do a lot of things to make it easier for the taxpayer. Within weeks it will be possible to do your taxes online and it will be easier to pay taxes through internet banking. Furthermore, the tax administration will be part of the soon to open public service centre in the fish market in Simpson Bay.”
Bergsma said there will be an update of the organization’s website and soon it will present a new logo. “We are making big steps in getting our act together in the field of ICT. We are revamping our ICT systems in such a way that we can work more efficiently and real time. The systems of the inspectorate will be coupled to the systems of the receiver and there will be connections to other government organizations. We are cleaning up and combining our databases,” he said.
“ICT is the key to success to build a state of the art tax administration. Apart from compliancy and customer service our colleagues from the fiscal affairs department started working on a new tax system for S. Maarten based on the principles of economics, efficiency, solidity, fairness, simplicity, predictability and international competitiveness,” he noted.