Saint Lucia: Prime Minister Philip J Pierre has released the statement on the Draft Tax Administration and Procedure Act. PM addressed the concerns circulating regarding the Act and has grabbed the attention of all.
Prime Minister said that it is imperative that they always provide accurate information to the Saint Lucian public to dispel any misconceptions. “First and foremost, I want to make it clear that the draft bill in circulation was initiated during the term of the UWP administration as evidenced by Cabinet Conclusion No. 1511 of 2020,” he added.
The Cabinet Conclusion reads, “Cabinet considered a Memorandum dated 13 Nov 2020, submitted by the Department of Finance and approved the request for creation of the Tax Administration and Procedures Act to harmonise the administrative, collections and penal provisions, of the various pieces of legislation that are currently administered by the Inland Revenue Department.”
PM Pierre mentioned that his government policy on tax is clear. He added that they have increased the threshold to $25,500, and anyone who earns less than $25,000 annually pays no income tax.
Prime Minister also said that his government has given the most generous tax amnesty in the history of Saint Lucia, where all forms of fines, penalties and interest were cancelled on all outstanding tax arrears, including Value Added Tax (VAT).
Notably, it is commendable that civil society is discussing the draft bill, which is in circulation and will lead to the presentation to the Cabinet of a discussed document.
PM urged the public to take the opportunity to settle the outstanding taxes by May 2024. He also arranged a press conference where he discussed the further details.
As per the Memo dated Dec 3, 2020, from the Ministry of Finance, Economic Growth, Job Creation, External Affairs and Public Service headed by the former Prime Minister, states, “The Department of Finance wishes to inform that Cabinet by Conclusion no. 1511 of 2020 considered a memorandum dated 13 Nov 2020, submitted by the Department of Finance.”
The Memo reads further, “The Department officially approved the request for the creation of the Tax Administrative Procedures Act to harmonize the administrative, collections and penal provisions of the various pieces of legislation that are currently administered by the Inland Revenue Department. The aforementioned is for your attention and necessary action.”
PM Pierre also stated that it is clear that instructions for the preparation of the draft bill came from the former Minister of Finance. He added, “Let me inform the public of Saint Lucia that the cabinet which I lead has never seen the draft bill now in circulation.”
“It is my understanding that consistent with our approach of transparency, dialogue and open government, the draft bill prepared on the instruction of the former prime minister is open for public discussion,” said the Prime Minister.