Gaming house operators who refuse to pay taxes should have their licenses suspended or revoked, Speaker of the House of Assembly Halson Moultrie said yesterday.
“In my view, the government or the Parliament should take a position that if you have a difficulty with any taxation you pay the taxes,” Moultrie told a group of visiting teachers in the House of Assembly.
“If you want to take the matter to the courts, you pay until the courts make a determination.
“If the courts make a determination in your favor then you would be credited with the taxation already paid, but you do not challenge the government and refuse to pay taxes.
“What if every other citizen took that position and refused to pay for their driver’s license [or] refused to pay your real property tax and flood the courts with claims? What sort of circumstance would we be putting our nation in?
“I am of the view that the Parliament and the government should take the position that if you refuse to pay the taxes, your next appearance before the court should be to get your license restored. In other words, the government should give you an ultimatum — pay these taxes by a certain date until the court makes a decision or your license will be suspended or revoked.
“Now I know that might seem harsh, but certain decisions need to be made in certain circumstances.”
Moultrie was referring to a legal battle between web shop operators and the government.
In 2018, the government implemented a sliding scale tax on gaming house revenues and announced a five percent stamp tax on patrons’ deposits and any non-online games or digital sales.
Web shop operators filed an application in the Supreme Court seeking leave for judicial review of the new taxes.
They also sought an injunction against government collecting the taxes. They labeled them as “discriminatory, unfair and wrong”.
Following the application, the government agreed not to impose the taxes but rather seek to have further discussions with gaming house operators in a bid to iron out areas in dispute.
In February, the government announced that it had reached an agreement with the operators.
However, several of the gaming houses have since indicated that they do not support the agreement that was reached, and have refused to pay.
Education: Virginia in Charlottesville, BA in Foreign Affairs and Spanish
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