Minister Tuitt: No plans for Turnover Tax hike on St. Maarten


PHILIPSBURG--The National Alliance (NA)-led coalition has no intention of increasing the Turnover Tax (ToT) which stands currently at five per cent. Finance Minister Roland Tuitt made this declaration as he "tackled" a rumour heard on Wednesday.

Tuitt told the Council of Ministers press briefing there was a rumour in the community that the government would be increasing the TOT and he wished to tackle it right away. He said that, contrary to the rumours, government was seeking ways to make "certain small changes" to the tax structure aimed at helping residents "go home with more money."
A two per cent increase in the ToT took effect in 2011 as a measure by the previous government to balance that year's budget. The tax had stood at three per cent for more than a decade and during the first four months of this year it yielded some NAf. 19 million more than expected. That "windfall" will be used to plug part of the current budget deficit for which a budget amendment is being compiled.

The Committee for Financial Supervision CFT has made two staff members available to government to aid with the budget amendments.

Tuitt said CFT had requested additional documentation about the way government intends to cover the deficit as outlined in government's letter of June 14. He said he hoped the completion of the budget amendments for approval of Parliament would answer questions posed by CFT in its letter of June 18.

Tuitt also is looking at further streamlining government's operations by revisiting the organisational structure.
Many "generic" functions were created within the government apparatus when country status was attained. Two years later the seven ministries have a better idea of how many people they need and in what capacities, he explained.
The ministries have been "instructed" to look at their structure to see if it meets its goals and provides an adequate level of service to residents.

Using the Finance Ministry as an example, Tuitt said he was looking for ways to increase productivity on the work floor and improve management of the treasury. That department has "not been given the importance it should have been given," he said. He will look into better ways of investing government's NAf. 65 million spread over various commercial banks.