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Oct 12, 2018

C.C.J. Orders G.O.B. to Pay David Gegg More than Half-a-Mil

The Caribbean Court of Justice has ordered the Government of Belize to repay businessman David Gegg more than four hundred thousand dollars plus six percent simple interest per annum which amounts to more than half a million Belize dollars. The ruling was handed down in favour of Cruise Solutions Limited and Discovery Expeditions Limited, companies owned by Gegg. Essentially, the C.C.J. was asked to determine whether the General Sales Tax Act applies to tour operators.  In 2012, a warrant was issued for Gegg’s arrest for unpaid taxes, but he was able to work out a payment plan with the Commissioner of GST. Gegg later filed a legal claim, disputing whether the tour services provided by the tour operators to passengers from cruise ships visiting Belize are zero-rated under the General Sales Tax Act or are taxable at a rate of twelve point five percent. Supreme Court Justice Sonya Young dismissed Gegg’s claim in 2014 and her judgment was affirmed by the Court of Appeal. Gegg appealed all the way to the C.C.J. which, has now ruled that local companies that provide tour operator services are not legally obligated to pay GST.  The judgment was delivered by Justice David Hayton.

 

Justice David Hayton, Judge, C.C.J.

“The appeal is allowed, and the order of the Court of Appeal set aside. It is declared that by virtue of paragraph one items six, two and/or seven of the Second Schedule to the General Sales Tax Act the tour services provided by the Appellants directly to international cruise lines (such as Royal Caribbean and Norwegian Cruise Lines) for passengers visiting Belize under contracts with such lines constitute zero-rated supplies for the purposes of the above Act. It is declared that the Respondents have unlawfully assessed, charged and collected from the Appellants General Sales Tax on the supply of tour services directly to international cruise lines visiting Belize under contracts with such lines. It is ordered that an account be taken of all General Sales Tax unlawfully assessed, charged and collected from the Appellants in respect of the above tour services since six years prior to filing of the claim form on fourteenth  February 2013. It is ordered that the Appellants are repaid the amount due each Appellant on the taking of the above account plus interest thereon at the rate of six percent simple interest per annum.”

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