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Inland Revenue Seeks to Ensure Greater Tax Compliance

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Contact: John Emmanuel

Thursday, February 21, 2002 - Word from the Inland Revenue Department is that greater effort will be expended at ensuring that more St. Lucians comply with the island’s various tax laws. In an effort to foster greater compliance the Department has intensified its pubic education activities through the Tax Payer Relations Unit.

Comptroller of Inland Revenue Trevor Braithwaite notes that his department would like persons to realize that they have an obligation to pay taxes. He says of particular concern are persons in the service industry.

He said: “One would realize that the economic patterns in St. Lucia are changing and that there are many more individuals on the island who are involved in service type economic activity and many persons in that area are self-employed. That poses the biggest challenge for us because while we can rely on a tax practitioner or employer to help us in terms of compliance for the traditional areas of economic activity, this newer area is proving to be a challenge because the self-employed individual does not realize that he/she has an obligation to comply with the tax laws of the land.”

Braithwaite indicated that members of the public are being encouraged to come into the department to seek a clearer understanding of their obligations as it pertains to any one of the close to a dozen tax categories currently being supervised by the Inland Revenue.

Meantime the department intends to undertake a cadastral survey involving properties on the island during the next fiscal year that begins in April.

“The most important thing for us is to determine what is available for taxing purposes. At this point in time this information is very sketchy and the only way for us to determine that, is to get out there and identify properties,” said Braithwaite.

The department continues to simplify many of its procedures in order to facilitate the easier payment of taxes. The deadline date for filing income tax returns is April 5, 2002.



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