British Virgin Islands

Friday, May 07, 2021

Connected Business Owners Getting Away With Unpaid Taxes

Connected Business Owners Getting Away With Unpaid Taxes

Opposition Legislator, Hon. Melvin ‘Mitch’ Turnbull has blasted the government for not pursuing some 'highly-connected' business owners who are escaping scrutiny for unpaid taxes.
Hon. Turnbull said however, expatriates are being made to suffer for if their taxes are not up to date.

“Employees busy up and down running trying to go to NHI [National Health Insurance], Social Security and Inland Revenue to get a good standing so that they can be approved for them to continue to legally live and work in this territory, they are continuously met with the fact that they cannot get one because the employers who have been taking and deducting Inland Revenue, NHI, Social Security taxes have not been paying it to the agencies,” he said while addressing government’s recent Labour policies for work permit renewals.

Currently, persons must be on par with the aforementioned departments and given a certificate of good standing in the case of the NHI and the Social Security and a certificate of earnings for the Inland Revenue Department before being approved for a renewal.

Delivering his contribution to the 2021 budget debate in the House of Assembly on Monday, December 14, Hon. Turnbull added, “And the people [employees] are being told that they have to deal with the employer to have it work out and then on the flip side of that when they cannot get it work out, here’s immigration on them, telling them they have to leave! Are we serious? That’s the burden that we putting on people? And then we continue to preach that we together.”

Government should collect its own taxes!

The Opposition legislator said the collection of taxes from each business entity should be the responsibility of the various government agencies.

On the flip side, he said, the same stringent measures are not being seen across the board.

“You have business owners who owe government and who owe taxes, hundreds of thousands of dollars and yet when you look government contract there, government contract there, going left, right and centre.

And, we think this is right Mr. Speaker? But, the people who work and try to pay their taxes when them late, them getting penalized but not a man calling the one who outstanding.

Mr Speaker we serious? You know John Brown owe hundreds of thousands of dollars in taxes, they ain't paid NHI since NHI come in, but could be awarded this contract, consultancy here, consultancy there for this ministry, for that ministry, and think people ain't seeing? Mr Speaker we got to do better, we must do better,” Hon. Turbull stated.

While putting on record that “It’s not right”, Hon. Turnbull suggested that if a government contract is awarded to a business person who is owing in taxes, there should be an arrangement for the funds to be deducted from the cost.

He explained, “This is your payment plan, this is how you going to get paid, less this agreed payment amount. But, not that I continue to owe and I get paid, and I continue to owe more, and I don’t pay, and nobody wants to address it or talk to you because you is so and so what his name cousin, brother or whatever the case may be. We cannot continue to do this.”
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