Letter to the Editor: St. Eustatius Tax Office Woes

Dear editor,

Allow me the space in your news medium to:

  • voice my opinion, 
  • speak up for the ones who are being targeted, 
  • speak out for the ones who are being legally blackmailed and threatened by the system,
  • speak for the ones that cannot speak for themselves,
  • and to speak out for the rights of our people.

Please let me make my views clear. I am aware of the reason why one has to pay taxes.

I am in agreement that we should all do our part and contribute towards the upkeep of our island, even if this comes in the form of paying taxes. My opinion regarding the method and amount is a story for a different article. My parents make sure that my siblings and I face consequences for our actions and or lack of actions, thus I believe this is the correct way to go.

We all face challenges in life and some setbacks of some sort, especially during these difficult economic times with constantly raising prices and still recovering from the impact of the Covid-19 Pandemic.

Like our legal system, I do not believe in abuse no matter what form or shape. No matter who you are. I believe the representatives of the Tax Office on Statia are abusing their power and are busy victimizing persons.

It has been years since I have been assisting companies and individuals with filing taxes, thus I am aware and familiar with the system.  

Let me explain reasons for believing this:

Over the last six to seven years, I have been accompanying individuals to the local tax office based on assessments they received. After querying this assessment, the information in the system was either incorrect or was not put into the system even though it was submitted to the office on time. This was proven by the receipts dated and stamped by the same office that sent the assessment. On one occasion the representatives indicated that there was a glitch in the system which threw all the payments of clients from in the system. Since we proved that from our end the information was filed and paid for on time. The lady asked us to give them two weeks to have this fixed. After two weeks the situation was corrected. 

Currently, there are some companies/individuals that are the victim of what I call abuse of power by this office.

  • There is one company that has an arrangement with this office and is paying between 800 to one thousand dollars every couple of weeks. Thus, there was and is willingness to pay. Yet the very equipment that this company uses to generate their funds was confiscated and auctioned off for approximately one quart of the starting auction price.  Now the business owner does not have his equipment and cannot generate funds to continue to pay what is owed. How does this office plan to collect the remaining funds when they crimpled the business?  What is the plan to sell his home next? What is the motive and the goal of this office in doing this?
  • There is another company which has more than one piece of equipment for the sole purpose of executing the business. They have already sold half of the equipment and expect the same company to pay hefty amounts while their production was cut in half due to the lack of machines that were sold by this office. Again, what are the main goals if this situation? Income possibilities were cut by close to fifty percent due to lack of equipment and the payment amount remains very high. It does not take rocket science to know this is impossible.
  • There is another company that received an assessment and sent in an objection letter and due to the absence (vacation) of one member of staff, this was not processed. The office had the balls to indicate that the person was on vacation and still penalized the company. 
  • Another company has been paying an amount indicated by the tax office for over four years. Their payments were deducted from the person’s salary by the employer as was requested by the office. After more than four years of paying hundreds of dollars per month to this office, the office threatened to sell the equipment of the company. The company went searching in their records and submitted copies of receipts stamped by the tax office for years that the business was being charged for a second time. After going through their system with the received receipts the amount that was owed according to the tax office dropped by almost 75%. The representative decided that she had to stop correcting the information in the system because it was time to auction the companies’ assets. After realizing that there were lots of errors / incorrect information in the tax office system which their auction was based on was not important. How realistic is this?
  • There are some individuals complaining and are in the process of losing assets that they own due to other family members battle with the tax office. Please note that I am not referring to spouse because they are allowed to take assets owned by spouse. I am referring to siblings, parents and or adult children. Which law allows this???

People in Statia are complaining about the in just and unfair treatment by this office and are not being taken seriously.  

Is it a coincidence that all these people currently facing these issues have the same political preference?

What is the goal of this office? If they continue this trend, we will be closing businesses?

What is the role and objective of this office?

What is the role of the Tax department in general?

Why are there so many errors being made in the administration of this office?

I would like to encourage the community of Statia to ask questions from these offices. It is not legal for offices to abuse their power nor to victimize clients. 

Statia demands of your representatives that they deal with these situations that are festering like wild fire in this office. Ask them to demand answers from this office as the role and goal of this office.

In closing I would like to thank the editor for the space to voice this concern that in putting dents into our economy and for allowing me to bring this monster in the light. 

A concerned Statian

Name of the writer known at BES-Reporter

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