By SVG Today Correspondent on 3/18/10
Senior Assistant Controller at the Audit Department Martina Primus has urged members of the public to pay their taxes, as Government uses the money to fund the public sector‚Äôs social infrastructure.
March is being celebrated as Tax Awareness Month under the theme "Taxation for you; taxation for me, let's make it work for SVG".
In an interview last week, Primus said that although taxation is not a very popular topic, it is important for the economy of the country.
St. Vincent and the Grenadines like most developing countries earn revenue from taxes. Unfortunately we do not have any natural resources, so we have to rely on tax dollars. The government uses our tax dollars to fund our social infrastructure, our health facilities, education, civil service; all that the government provides has to be funded by tax dollars so we have to contribute as a nation.
Tax compliance is a worldwide issue, stressed Primus. Of course everywhere you go taxation is not a well topic or issue and here in St. Vincent and the Grenadines it is no different; we have to grapple with getting persons to voluntarily comply, she added.
Although the tax compliance level has been improving over the years, she added it is an uphill task, but we continue to do our best to ensure that persons become more compliant; and that is why we have this annual Tax Awareness Month because the whole idea is to get persons more educated, more knowledgeable about taxation and its importance.
Primus is of the view that with more awareness on the matter, there will be better compliance and cooperation from the tax-paying public.
Explaining how the tax process works, she said that persons are required to file income tax returns for individuals on March 31 and companies do so at the end of their financial year. There is a $20 penalty for failing to file on time, and an additional $20 for every month that it is not done.
In addition, all outstanding taxes are expected to be paid upon filing the income tax return, and if there are any outstanding balances, then automatically according to Primus, ‚you would begin to accrue interest on that outstanding balance at the rate of 1.5 percent a month‚
Remember it is your duty to contribute to your country, she advises the public, reminding them of the March 31 deadline.