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#411822 - 07/15/11 12:36 AM Sales Tax threatens Business Owners with Jail
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Sales Tax Crackdown Puts Prominent Business Owners Under Threat Of Jail

Nationally, businesses owe The Sales Tax Department 13 million dollars in arrears. The department has now started a drive to collect four hundred and five thousand dollars of that in 13 cases that are being actively enforced.

At court today, we saw the Department's prosecutor carrying around a file which says "committal warrants. " Now, if you don't know, a committal warrant is the very last step in enforcement: it means that the minute it is served it on you, you should be committed to jail.

And that's almost what happened to the owner of Neon Plastics, Cathy Barroti - who - according to reports from the Sales Tax Prosecutor - was already on the prison bus - when she managed to work out a last ditch arrangement to pay $2,500 dollars out of the $41,000 that her business owes.

And there are also committal warrants for many other well-known persons including Loretta Palacio whose businesses Total Business Solutions and Worldcom owe a combined thirty-plus thousand dollars. According to the sales Tax Prosecutor Palacio is out of the country and will be served with the warrant at the airport when she returns.

Similarly, this afternoon, the Sales Tax department intended to serve a committal warrant on Theresa Parkey of the Hugh Parkey foundation which owes $108,000 thousand dollars in arrears.

And this morning, well known PUP political activist Mark Usher was served with his warrant for Modern Cleaning Company - and only managed to avert a trip to jail by explaining an extenuating circumstance: his son Maurice Usher had just been killed in a traffic accident.

In all cases, the Sales Tax Department says numerous warnings were sent in writing to business owners

Sales tax money held by businesses are actually government's money already paid by consumers to those businesses - a situation in which business owners act as tax collectors and should only hold the money for the government until the end of month.

Live and let live

#411828 - 07/15/11 01:21 AM Re: Sales Tax threatens Business Owners with Jail [Re: Short]
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GST looking for $11 million from hard pay businesses

Over $11 million dollars is outstanding to the Government through the collection of General Sales tax (GST) and a total of 13 businesses who owe outstanding and significant figures for sales tax were targeted this week.

One businesswoman came close to going to jail after she was placed on a prison bus late on Tuesday evening but was saved from going to Jail because a check in the amount of $2,500.00 was paid on her behalf. Despite this however she has a significant balance of $38,500.000 in arrears in GST for the period of 2009 and 2010. The woman, Catherine Barothy, of Neon Plastics was picked up on Tuesday evening on the strength of a committal warrant. She was speared from going to jail when the payment of $2,500 was made and an agreement was signed in which she committed to pay 1,000.00 each month until the balance is paid.

On Wednesday another prominent and known businesswoman was being sought by GST. She is Theresa Parkey, the owner of Hugh Parkey’s Organization and Diving Connection. We were reliably informed that Parkey owes GST in the amount of $108,000 and when interest is added the amount totals to $115,000.

Others that were visited this week by GST’s Legal Officer were Loretta and Vincent Palacio, who own Total Business Solution and World Com. They have an outstanding amounted of $1,720.42 and $18,094.60. We understand that Loretta Palacio is presently out of the country but that a committal warrant is out for her arrest and that warrant has been forwarded to the PGIA upon her return to Belize. Service One Cleaner which is owned by Samir Chebat was also visited as they owed over $100,000. On Tuesday however a payment was made in the sum of $57,000.

Another business visited was Ivor Company which is owned by HaidiBaezer who owes GST, a total of $9,421.97. We understand that the company is no longer operating but that the money is outstanding and must be paid immediately.

The Government of Belize is trying its best to collect outstanding money owed. We were told that the Legal Officer in recovering efforts had made telephone calls, made field visits, sent notice letters and noncompliance letters -to the above mentioned persons since 2009 and 2010. This is something they do on a monthly basis and businesses just refuse to comply.

Under the law the Commissioner of Income Tax or General Sales Tax has several options available for collection of outstanding monies including the distressing of goods or committal warrants for the taxpayers, including the Principal Officers of the Companies.

The aggressive collection has become necessary since businesses owe over 11 million dollars in taxes to GST. It is to be noted that GST is a consumer tax, meaning that the businesses are collection agents for the government of Belize and the companies themselves are not the ones paying the taxes, rather it is the customers who pay. The businesses simply collect the money on government’s behalf therefore payments ought not to be a problem.

Live and let live


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