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Nov 23, 2018

G.O.B. Passes Bill to Close GST Loophole

Dean Barrow

In October, the Caribbean Court of Justice ordered the Government of Belize to repay businessman David Gegg more than half a million dollars. Gegg is the owner of Cruise Solutions Limited and Discovery Expeditions Limited, two companies which initiated a legal case against the government with respect to taxation. Gegg requested the C.C.J. to determine whether the General Sales Tax Act applies to tour operators.  This is after a warrant was issued for Gegg’s arrest following nonpayment of GST.  He took the matter before the court and the C.C.J., by majority decision, determined that local companies that provide tour operator services are not legally obligated to pay GST.  Today, the Barrow Administration introduced a bill to amend the General Sales Tax Act to clarify definitions, essentially blocking local tour operators, who have paid their taxes, from collecting. 

 

Prime Minister Dean Barrow

“We had our lawyers research this thing properly and saw where, this is not the first time it has happen, I am not saying in Belize, elsewhere and the courts have held that in those circumstances that the government is perfectly entitled to pass a law retrospectively curing the mischief and thus whipping out the chance of these people getting refunds. As the court says man, it can’t say it is a new tax being imposed. You all paid it and except for one person, paid it happily. Those tax dollars were used to help the industry, to build road, to deliver the services of government. You cannot leave the government and the state in a position where it will be so horribly prejudice and have its finances so completely destabilized. That is what the bill is about. How much? I didn’t even try find out the exact amount because, imagine I would have catch a heart attack.”

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