G.S.T. Scheme Exposed? Senior Auditor Claims Management Interfered with Assessments
Is the Department of General Sales Tax playing fair with taxpayers’ money? That is the question tonight after News Five obtained a letter written to the office of the Solicitor General from a senior tax officer stationed down South. At the end of December, the officer questioned to what extent that the Department’s management is allowed to influence the outcome of an auditor’s assessment and report. In two separate cases, the letter details how the tax officer calculated specific values for collection, only to see his bosses intervene and demand that he change his method of assessment to one that would result in a higher calculation for payment. In one case he was called to face a panel of the senior officers and browbeaten into changing his method. He was also forbidden from showing his work to the agents or businesses involved. This resulted in the higher value being charged and paid without the agents being any wiser of their options, including getting a second opinion and appealing to the Appeal Board for G.S.T. The Department, the officer claims, forces its officers to keep to specified methods. They were also asked to adjust and toggle with the numbers using at least three methods, so that the highest possible amount of tax can be collected. Frustrated, the officer contacted the Solicitor General’s office and copied the letter to other authorities including the Prime Minister’s office and the President of the Public Service Union. At last report, the Solicitor General’s office responded that any question of policy would be left to the G.S.T.’s management. Our contact indicates that this is the tip of the iceberg with regard to abuses in the G.S.T. Department and there is more to come. We sought comment from the Department this afternoon, but Commissioner Jones was not in and neither of the Assistant Commissioners responded. News Five also understands that while as much as thirty million dollars in unpaid arrears exists for G.S.T. alone, the Government also owes about that much in refunds to taxpayers who have prepaid credit for goods bought even though they have not sold them.