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Wednesday, May 25, 2022
HomeNewsArchivesGovernor Convenes Tax-Collection Meeting

Governor Convenes Tax-Collection Meeting

Fresh from having posted a list of businesses that are reportedly delinquent in paying taxes, key advisers of Gov. John deJongh Jr. met Tuesday to discuss collection options available to the V.I. government for the roughly the $41 million in delinquent gross receipts and hotel room taxes.

The meeting was the latest step to implement a comprehensive approach to adopt the administration’s broader tax-collection strategy, according to a statement released by Government House.

The government recently published a list of almost 1,200 delinquent taxpayers in these two categories with obligations that go back as far 2002. That list has been challenged by St. Croix attorney Lee Rohn, who claims it contains names of businesses and individuals who have already paid their taxes.

DeJongh said the government hasn’t had a proper, consistent tax-collection system, and the taxpayers know it.

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“We are in this predicament for any number of reasons, ranging from not having proper and consistent collection processes to businesses and individuals that have figured out the weaknesses in the system and exploited it in a way that hurts our entire community," deJongh said Tuesday. "As we recently did with those delinquent on their real property taxes, we intend to have a laser focus on those who owe … and make sure that we achieve collection."

DeJongh and his cabinet officials discussed forming a task force to implement enforcement mechanisms that will focus on those that do business with the government and the wider base of the delinquent taxpayers. The task force would include attorneys, revenue agents and an accountant.

The governor was joined by Internal Revenue Bureau Director Claudette Watson-Anderson, Department of Licensing and Consumer Affairs Commissioner Wayne Biggs Jr., Attorney General Vincent Frazer, and Property and Procurement Commissioner Lynn Millin-Maduro as well as Government House senior staff.

Watson-Anderson estimates the territory is owed roughly $40 million in back gross receipts taxes and another $1 million in hotel room taxes.

"We have been increasing our collection on delinquent accounts over the last couple years, but this concerted effort will allow the government to collect on older accounts and ensure that there is equity across the board,” she said.

DeJongh said the public will be kept informed of measures implemented to collect back taxes, the status of delinquent collections, the request to the 29th Legislature to fund the task force, and any developments in the U.S. Department of Interior’s grant to shore up collection operations at the Internal Revenue Bureau.

“I recognize the difficulty we are all having right now in making ends meet and adjusting our expenses to our income; however, this focus and effort is on people who know they have this obligation and have avoided paying for too long, thereby putting an unfair burden on those that adhere to the rules,” deJongh said.

“It also takes away resources desperately needed to help those in our community who are in need of health, social and other critical services, in addition to meeting needs in education, law enforcement and other government services," deJongh said. "At this time, everyone has to do their part and pay their fair share."

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Fresh from having posted a list of businesses that are reportedly delinquent in paying taxes, key advisers of Gov. John deJongh Jr. met Tuesday to discuss collection options available to the V.I. government for the roughly the $41 million in delinquent gross receipts and hotel room taxes.

The meeting was the latest step to implement a comprehensive approach to adopt the administration's broader tax-collection strategy, according to a statement released by Government House.

The government recently published a list of almost 1,200 delinquent taxpayers in these two categories with obligations that go back as far 2002. That list has been challenged by St. Croix attorney Lee Rohn, who claims it contains names of businesses and individuals who have already paid their taxes.

DeJongh said the government hasn't had a proper, consistent tax-collection system, and the taxpayers know it.

“We are in this predicament for any number of reasons, ranging from not having proper and consistent collection processes to businesses and individuals that have figured out the weaknesses in the system and exploited it in a way that hurts our entire community," deJongh said Tuesday. "As we recently did with those delinquent on their real property taxes, we intend to have a laser focus on those who owe ... and make sure that we achieve collection."

DeJongh and his cabinet officials discussed forming a task force to implement enforcement mechanisms that will focus on those that do business with the government and the wider base of the delinquent taxpayers. The task force would include attorneys, revenue agents and an accountant.

The governor was joined by Internal Revenue Bureau Director Claudette Watson-Anderson, Department of Licensing and Consumer Affairs Commissioner Wayne Biggs Jr., Attorney General Vincent Frazer, and Property and Procurement Commissioner Lynn Millin-Maduro as well as Government House senior staff.

Watson-Anderson estimates the territory is owed roughly $40 million in back gross receipts taxes and another $1 million in hotel room taxes.

"We have been increasing our collection on delinquent accounts over the last couple years, but this concerted effort will allow the government to collect on older accounts and ensure that there is equity across the board,” she said.

DeJongh said the public will be kept informed of measures implemented to collect back taxes, the status of delinquent collections, the request to the 29th Legislature to fund the task force, and any developments in the U.S. Department of Interior's grant to shore up collection operations at the Internal Revenue Bureau.

“I recognize the difficulty we are all having right now in making ends meet and adjusting our expenses to our income; however, this focus and effort is on people who know they have this obligation and have avoided paying for too long, thereby putting an unfair burden on those that adhere to the rules,” deJongh said.

“It also takes away resources desperately needed to help those in our community who are in need of health, social and other critical services, in addition to meeting needs in education, law enforcement and other government services," deJongh said. "At this time, everyone has to do their part and pay their fair share."