Tuitt announces convenient electronic tax system for St. Maarten

FRIDAY 3 AUGUST 2012, PHILIPSBURG – An automated tax system may be implemented soon, if Finance Minister Roland Tuitt gets his way. Tuitt on Wednesday indicated that he was exploring the possibility of a new computer system that integrates and streamlines operations between the Receiver’s Office and the Tax Office while providing added convenience for businesses.

The Minister said that the intention was to “eliminate some of the problems that you are having right now.”

As a long term goal, this use of technology may result in persons being able to file tax returns, pay invoices and view assessments online.

Benefits of filing taxes electronically over standing in long exhausting queues are that you will receive a tax refund sooner and your tax data goes directly to Tax office computers with a greatly reduced chance of human keying or document scanning errors. E-filed returns also cost 20 times less to process compared to a paper return, which saves tax payers a lot of money.

The system is not an entirely new one to this part of the world since several countries within the region have already taken advantage of this type of technology. Since 1990, world leaders like the United States and India have all invested in integrated automated their tax systems with software applications that do no not come cheap.

For St.Maarten it may cost a hefty sum, but Tuitt did not give an indication of how much the new technology will cost to install and maintain.

“It will take some time and some investments but that is the direction we are going in,” the Minister noted.

The government has already applied to Central Bank of Curacao and St.Maarten for a 100 million guilder loan for capital investment projects, like this one.

The Board for financial supervision Cft still has to assess the implications of the loan for the country’s economy before giving a final approval.

“We hope to have it completed soon,” Tuitt remarked, while Prime Minister Sarah Wescot-Williams explained that government will prioritize its capital investment needs to make the best use of the 100 million guilders loan across all ministries.