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Road tax defaulters pay up by November 15 or face fine on St. Maarten


PHILIPSBURG–Motorists who have avoided paying their road tax thus far for this year have until November 15 to make a payment or face a NAf. 300 fine in addition to the applicable road tax amount. The vehicles of defaulters are expected to be impounded by the police until the defaulter has paid the tax and the fine.

Some NAf. 1.5 million in road tax is still outstanding from the annual collection of NAf. 8.5 million. The outstanding amount results from about one in seven motorists defaulting on their tax this year, Finance Minister Martin Hassink announced Wednesday.

The legal framework for the levying of the NAf. 300 fine to motorists is currently being worked on. The fine will have to be paid at the Receiver’s Office before the defaulter receives his or her vehicle again.

Police will conduct “extensive road controls” from November 15 to December 31, to check motorists for road tax payment and other vehicle-related documents. This exercise was arranged by the Finance Ministry in collaboration with the Justice Ministry.

Hassink advised motorists who have not yet paid their road tax to do so before November 15, or face the fine.

Motorists who have paid their road tax are urged by the minister to ensure they have proof of payment in their vehicles at all times to present to the police in the event they are stopped in a road control.

The shortfall in tax payment has been linked to the new approach to road tax payment adopted by former Finance Minister Roland Tuitt. The new system relied on the honesty and civil responsibility of motorists to pay their road tax when a visible indication of payment was not given.

No new licence plate or sticker was given to taxpayers this year as an indication of payment, leaving all motorists open to the road controls. In the past when such controls were held earlier in the year, police could spot the defaulters easily, as they had the old number plates or stickers.

For those defaulters who manage to make it to the New Year without making a payment for 2013, government is looking into ways to recoup that lost income. The law at present does not allow for the 2013 road tax to be collected in 2014.

Source: The Daily Herald, St. Maarten

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