Published On: Mon, Apr 29th, 2013

Minister Martina wants strict control sales tax tariffs

Steven MartinaWILLEMSTAD - Minister of Economic Development Steven Martina wants to do everything to prevent that retailers to abuse the change in the sales tax-system. This change was recently approved by parliament.

Minister Martina explained that there will be constant monitoring of the price developments in Curaçao. The Ministry of Economic Development has made an inventory of different products, including products that will fall under the 0 percent sales tax tariff. This are healthy products such as eggs, baby food, potatoes, fruit and vegetables. Furthermore, other commonly used products will be inventoried. The inventory, or baseline, is important according to Martina to make visible any price increases in the future. Besides products with zero percent sales tax, there will be different products (such as computers) will remains in the current six percent rate. Luxury products such as beverages, alcohol, eating in restaurants and yachts will fall in the nine percent sales tax-rate.

There will be different checkpoints in the coming period. This will be done  in shops, mini markets and supermarkets to keep an eye on the price development and under control.  According to Martina, the inspection department will consist of eight people. They are authorized to check all retail stores in Curacao and they have to do it within a month. The inspectors will make themselves known during checkpoints, but according to the minister, retailers cannot suddenly switch to another sales tax system.

Martina emphasized that every product is checked. ‘We will also be working with the consumer foundation ‘Fundashon pa Konsumido’. They will play an important a role in the price comparisons. The core of the whole operation is to prevent abuse,” Martina stated.

According to Martina it would be good if all retail stores have access to sophisticated cash registers that are simple and easy to control and can calculate the sales tax on different products. Martina stressed that there may be more work for the coming up for shopkeepers who have to process three different sales tax tariffs starting May 1. “But it is for a better goal, namely by amending the sales tax rates, healthy food becomes cheaper. I hope that  this message comes across to all involved. And that together we may detect abuse and prevent it,” the Minister concluded.

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