Members of the Senate Committee on Government Operations, Consumer Affairs, Energy, Environment and Planning voted Friday in favor of amending the V.I. Code to make the collection of taxes more efficient.
The bill was voted on favorably by members of the committee and forwarded to the Rules and Judiciary Committee.
Averyl Thomas-Fabian, deputy director of Bureau of Internal Revenue, testified the bureau supported the bill pushing that effort. However, she added that its elements could not become effective until the bureau had its whole system online. When the system is online residents and businesses will be able to file through the internet.
She could not tell senators when that would happen, but said the bureau was seeking grant money to make it happen. She said getting online would probably cost $500,000.
Sen. Athneil Thomas said the bill would probably pay for itself through increased tax collection. It was suggested that money from the General Fund could be appropriated to bring the bureau online.
Enrique Rodriguez of Rodriquez Auto Parts Inc. testified in favor of the bill.
“I support this bill because it would increase gross receipt tax collection from new sources, allow for better auditing tools for IRB and finally since GRT revenue would increase, there might be a possibility that this legislative body down the road considers a rollback of the GRT to 4 percent, thereby assisting in lowering the cost of living for all Virgin Islanders,” he said.
If it gets final approval, the bill will authorize the V.I. Bureau of Internal Revenue to create any and all forms necessary for the collection and filing of taxes.