MP’s owing thousands in taxes

A number of politicians in the country could be left embarrassed if the State decide to publish their tax status with the Ministry of Finance.

Informed sources told THE NEW TODAY newspaper that the three month old Keith Mitchell-led New National Party (NNP) has been presented with a document from the Ministry of Finance giving details about the thousands of dollars owed in taxes by persons who served in Parliament within the past 15 years.

A high level government source who asked not to be named said that Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Finance, Timothy Antoine had directed the Comptroller of Inland Revenue, Pauline Peters to prepare a list following statements made in Parliament by newly elected Member of Parliament for St. George North-east, Tobias Clement on delinquent MP’s.

In his contribution to the 2013 budget debate, Clement hinted that there were persons sitting in Parliament who owed monies to the State in taxes and that such persons should not be allowed to be law-makers in the country.

According to the source, Antoine also asked the Inland Revenue Department (IRD) to prepare a list of the top companies and private sector businesses that are in default with their tax payments.

He said that a preliminary data list prepared by the department and submitted for the attention of government indicate that an opposition parliamentarian, linked to the National Democratic Congress (NDC) was owing the State in excess of EC$600, 000 in taxes.

He pointed out that the records of the Inland Revenue show that the individual who is a professional and runs his own private business has never paid taxes in over 15 years.

He pointed out that as the government understands it, the IRD did an estimate of the taxes owed by the individual over the years, and it runs over the half-a-million dollar mark.

The source dropped hints that the individual who is qualified to receive a pension from the State, having served in Parliament for two terms will be hard-pressed to collect any of his monies.

“The rules state quite clearly that if you owe money to government, the government will first have to take out what you owe it and then give you the rest. In this case, that individual owes more money to the state than what the state is supposed to give him so I can’t see how he will get any money from government”, he remarked.

The source disclosed that the IRD information submitted to government reveals that three former government ministers with Congress are also owing monies to the State.

He said all three received salaries in excess of $6, 000 a month from government and what was strange is that IRD itself did not make any income tax deductions from their salaries.

The source stated that on the government side, fingers can be pointed at three members who have allegedly been cheating the tax man over the years.

He said that a very senior minister has been accessed by IRD to be owing government $14, 000.00 in taxes while a female member of the Cabinet is owing in the vicinity of $3, 000.00.

In addition, the source noted that another member of the government is not owing any monies in income taxes to the State since he had put his monthly salary at below the $6000.00 a month benchmark to be liable to pay the tax.

However, he said the individual operates a large private sector business concern which is owing government in excess of $230, 000.00 in taxes over the years.

According to the official, the government is awaiting a more comprehensive data list from IRD and expect the information could be ready within the next few weeks.

He declined to speculate on the kinds of actions that might be forthcoming from Prime Minister Mitchell on the question of delinquent MP’s.

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