MP Rodney Charles is challenging Minister Imbert to reconvene a JSC with haste to deliberate on the two additional tax bills needed to make T&T compliant with international tax laws before the December 31st EU/Global Forum deadline if indeed this is the true deadline.
“Why does this PNM administration continue with its lackadaisical approach, and characteristic sloth, in passing very important pieces of legislation? The JSC was supposed to start working on the Mutual Administrative Assistance in Tax Matters Bill and the Tax Information Exchange Agreements Bill since June. Not even ten minutes’ worth of our total meeting times were dedicated to them.
Is it that, in similar fashion to the Income Tax Amendment Bill and also with FATCA , they are going at the very last minute to scurry to pass these two bills when we are reviewed by the Global Forum, and attempt to divert attention away from the clauses that infringe on citizen’s rights?” asks MP Charles.
We are fed up of this continuing charade every time important Legislation comes before the House. This PNM Government knows that they can depend on their well-heeled friends to provide uncritical support. These friends appear more concerned with profits even at the expense of legitimate, constitutionally guaranteed rights and freedoms even when the giving up of these freedoms is not required by international agencies.
They claimed that passing the Income Tax Amendment Bill would get us off of the blacklist. If that is the case, what is the harm in being proactive and beginning work on the other two bills to make us totally compliant? Even if these Bills are not passed this year, we will be showing the Global Forum tangible, serious commitments and progress to becoming compliant.
Let us get all legislation (every last piece) out of the way once and for all so we can get off all non-compliant or blacklists from FATF/CFATF/OECD/Global Forum/EU or from whatever source.
In 2017, T&T missed the deadline to become tax compliant due to their insufficient progress towards satisfactory implementation of the agreed tax transparency standards.
One year ago, the Attorney General said that he would be debating the Administrative Assistance in Tax Matters Bill. If this was a serious Government, we would have already deliberated on and passed this legislation.
It is time that this Government stops the last minute charade. They need to move away from trying to score cheap political points, put our country’s interests first and do what they are paid to do – that is get us off every blacklist.
MP for Naparima