The Tax Office Caribbean Netherlands last year imposed a total assessment of some US $108 million in taxes and social premiums on Bonaire, St. Eustatius and Saba in 2011. The largest chunk that was assessed concerned the general spending tax ABB: US $32.4 million. The Tax Office had calculated to levy about US $23 million in general spending tax over 2011. This is stated in the response of the Dutch cabinet to the buying power
investigation in Bonaire, St. Eustatius and Saba which was sent to the Second Chamber on Monday.
Ecorys, the bureau that carried out the buying power investigation together with Curconsult, estimated the total tax revenues over 2011 to be US $50-54 million. This does not include the property tax over 2011. These assessments will be sent out in the course of this year. The revenue of the property tax is about US $4 million. Taking the inflation into account, the total tax revenues could be in the order of about US $55 million. The exact height of the total revenues of 2011 is not known as yet. Representatives of the islands had demanded that information in a meeting with the Finance Ministry in March this year.
When officials of the Ministry said that they could not provide this as yet, the island delegations walked out of the meeting. In Monday’s letter, Dutch Government explained that data on the revenues over 2011 were not available because the Tax Office levies and collectively gathers all wage relating levies. It concerns the combined levy of the wage tax and the social insurance premiums, as well as the employee’s premiums paid by the employer. “Splitting up the revenues in taxes, social insurance premiums and employee’s insurances is only possible after an analysis of individual income data of the tax payers. That analysis can only take place after the 2011 income tax assessments have arrived at the Tax Office,” it was explained. The wage tax cards of those who do not have to pay income tax still have to be analysed and will only be available late 2012.
This means that the final revenue of the new fiscal system for the islands will become known at a late stage. “Only then it can be determined whether there is a surplus of revenues that will be returned to the residents of the Caribbean Netherlands islands via compensating measures.” The buying power investigation has shown that the collective burden on the islands in 2011 has sharply increased in comparison to previous years. This partly has to do with the stricter compliance of the new system of taxes and social insurance premiums.
Ecorys and Curconsult established that little information was available on the economic and social dynamics on the islands. There is limited information on the Gross National Product (GNP), the height of incomes, the division of incomes and the cost of living adjustment of pensions. This makes it hard to make buying power representations. The Central Bureau
for Statistics (CBS) is carefully monitoring the inflation development.
Source: “The Daily Herald” 2012-06-14 (9)