Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Peter Turnquest said yesterday that the government is holding firm on its position to collect revenue from those gaming house operators that have yet to comply with the new gaming tax structure.
“We do intend to pursue it to ensure that the government collects the revenue that is due. There has been a negotiation and some accommodations made in regards to our initial opposition. I don’t see us moving from that point at this stage,” Turnquest told reporters outside the Churchill Building yesterday.
“We’ve held the position that it is a fair tax. Nobody wants to pay taxes but we all have to pay our fair share to ensure that the government can provide the kinds of services that we need. We’re about $5 million down from where we expected to be at this time.”
The government has collected roughly $22.5 million of its $70 million target for gaming tax revenue in the 2018/2019 fiscal year.
Last week Attorney General Carl Bethel said the government is prepared to take gaming house operators to court over the unpaid taxes.
Turnquest was providing comment on “Nine Months Consolidated Fiscal Snapshot and Report on Budgetary Performance” report released by the Ministry of Finance on Monday.
Despite this shortfall in revenue collection from gaming houses, Turnquest said he’s still confident the government will meet all of its other financial projections.
“If you look at the snapshot we are actually exceeding expectations in some areas. We are behind a bit on our customs trade taxes and are analyzing to see what exactly that is and why that’s occurring, but other than that we are fairly comfortable with where we are and are pleased that in some areas we’ve been able to exceed our expected level in revenue, with no increase in taxes in those particular areas,” he said.
The government has projected it will collect $2.6 billion in revenue for the 2018/2019 fiscal year, but in order to meet that target it would have to collect $960 million in revenue during the final quarter.
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