Published On: Mon, Jan 21st, 2013

No 9 percent sales tax on computers

WILLEMSTAD — In a letter to the Council of Ministers, the Knowledge Platform Curaçao expressed its concern about the upcoming introduction of 9 percent sales tax (ob) on computers. The Knowledge Center actually wants computers exempted from sales tax. Within the framework of the differentiation of the sales tax, 9 percent sales tax will be charged for ‘luxury products’, etc., while several basic products will fall under a zero-tariff. The government considers computers luxury products but the Knowledge Center disagrees. The letter written by chairman Maurice Adriaens, states ‘there can be no impediment to access, sharing and incorporating of information in our endeavor for a lasting social-economic development. All ICT-equipment (including communication and peripheral equipment) must be considered as ‘basic necessaries’ accessible for everyone, and not as a luxury article’.

Adriaens further argues that ‘many efforts are made to stimulate the development of Curaçao as regional hub as regards data and media, whereby attracting international projects and initiatives – such as data center CTEX, for which the government expressed its support – is of vital importance. In our opinion, increasing the sales tax to 9 percent conflicts with this interest’. The letter further mentions that increasing the sales tax on these articles will only increase the ‘digital divide’ between poor and rich, which conflicts with the millennium targets of the United Nations. Increasing the burdens wouldn’t benefit the development of education either.

Zero-tariff

The Knowledge Center wants the government to consider abolishing the sales tax for computers and states a zero-tariff for import duties on computers had already been implemented in 2000. “Our island will benefit from the lasting social-economic development and the literature shows this will also have a positive effect on the government’s revenues.”

Bended knees

MFK-parliamentarian Monique Koeyers-Felida presented a dramatic request to the Hodge-cabinet. “I’m prepared to thank you on bended knees if you decide to exempt computers from the sales tax. The introduction of sales tax on computers will have far-reaching consequences for the education on the island. We know better”, the parliamentarian said this morning.

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