Tuitt stops ‘Taxand’ fiscal reform project in St. Maarten

THURSDAY 31 MAY 2012, PHILIPSBURG--Finance Minister Roland Tuitt announced Wednesday that the tax reform project being carried out by United Kingdom-based Taxand Group has been stopped.

Concerns had been raised about the cost of the project, some US $11 million by independent Member of Parliament (MP) Frans Richardson earlier this month.

Tuitt said the tax compliance segment of the project that was "authorised" by former Finance Minister Hiro Shigemoto has to be reviewed to determine how to proceed, as two people have already been hired. The minister will meet the Tax Department this week to look at the Taxand issue and others.

In his last press conference before leaving office, Shigemoto had said that Taxand had devised a financial analysis (so-called straw man) with budgetary effects on the proposed fiscal measures, but it has not been approved by the Council of Ministers as yet.

The Department of Fiscal affairs has to draft an advice on the "straw-man" before it can be approved by the Council of Ministers.

An advice on the total Taxand Project was approved by the Council of Ministers on March 22. This advice, together with a national decree were thereafter sent to the Governor's Office for a signature to allow further execution, Shigemoto said.

"New Tax Administration St Maarten Project" is made up of several components to eliminate backlog, purchase resources such as vehicles, recruitment, ICT infrastructure and equipment, education and training, control and communication.