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Jul 17, 2018

S.C. Eamon Courtenay: This is Not a Case of Tax Avoidance

Eamon Courtenay

Representing David Gegg and his two companies is Senior Counsel Eamon Courtenay.  Courtenay made the point that this is not a case in which Gegg is avoiding to pay tax, but about determining whether the General Sales Tax Act applies to tour operators.


Eamon Courtenay, Attorney for Appellants

 “I emphasize your honors this is not a case of Cruise Solutions and Discovery Expeditions attempting to organize their business in such a way as to do some type of tax avoidance. This is not them attempting to do this. The question is what was the intention of the legislature when it zero rated these services directly related to the management and operations of the ship. And the question simply is one of fact and degree in relation to the cruise ship and this particular type of service. So I underscore, this is not a tax avoidance case. It is whether or not properly construed the provisions of the legislation actually applied. It is not the arrangement; this is what the legislation says that in these particular cases there is the zero rating, point one. Point two: Discovery Expedition, in my view, similar to the scenario that the President is posing and goes back to a question from Justice Anderson. Mr. X and Mrs. Y who walked off the ship, not having bought anything, and say in this case will be Discovery Solutions “I want to go to a Mayan temple’. That person has to pay the tax. In this scenario, my learned friend Solicitor General said that cruise lines were coming to Belize prior to the enactment of the General Sales Tax and therefore the legislature must have taken to have known the way they operate. It is my respectful submission that on that factual piston then it would not be right to look at the second schedule, section six and say that it does not apply to cruise ships. The legislature was aware that cruise ships were coming to Belize. They were involved international transport and all of those services would be supplied to cruise ships. With respect I think that the cruise ships and the service providers who provide the services should be look on in a way to promote what it is that is attempted to do here.”


The CCJ reserved its ruling to a later date.

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