The Way I See It

By:Curtis Morton

The way I see it, as much as we may hate to admit it, TAXES are very important to the day to day running of any country.

There is something about taxes that seem to connote something FISHY and maybe even SINFUL and this goes back to the biblical days when negative references were made to such esteemed Tax collectors as Zacchaeus.

However, when Zacchaeus met Jesus, he became a changed man and stated: “Look, Lord! Here and now I give half of my possessions to the poor, and if I have cheated anybody out of anything, I will pay back four times the amount.”

Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house, because this man, too, is a son of Abraham.  For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.”

Now I don’t know why, but I get the distinct impression that in those days, the Tax collectors were all males and certainly would not have been as good looking as some of those we have in this modern era.

I can talk for Nevis. We do have some good looking female Tax collectors here.

Well I newa!

In my research I discovered that “tax is a contribution exacted by the state. It is a compulsory and unrequited transfer of resources from the private to the public sector, levied on the basis of predetermined criteria.

For economic development of a country, tax can be used as an important tool in the following manner:

  1. Optimum allocation of available resources; 2. Raising government revenue; 3. Encouraging savings and investment; 4. Reduction of inequalities in income and wealth; 5. Acceleration of Economic Growth; 6. Price Stability; 7. Control mechanism

The United States of America relies heavily on the individual income tax, at 38.7 percent of total government tax revenue, while in 2016, Canada recorded a tax to GDP ratio of 31.9%.

I do not have the relevant statistics for Nevis or St.Kitts and Nevis, but sufficing to say, it appears as if the government would be really badly off, if we do not pay our taxes.

These taxes include:


  • Cable TV Tax
  • Value-added tax (VAT)–The standard VAT rate is 17%, while hotel accommodation, tour operators, and restaurants carry a reduced rate of 10%.

Most foods (excluding prepared food or meals from a restaurant, snackette, cafeteria, etc. (Live animals; and plants, medicines, and funeral expenses by a licensed funeral home are exempt from VAT).

  • Coastal Environment Levy
    • Consumption Tax
    • Corporate Income Tax
    • Hotel Accommodation and Restaurant Tax
    • Insurance Premium
    • Proceeds of Lotto
    • Property Tax-Factors that determine market value include: Size of property; condition of building; age of building; land use and value of recently sold similar property in the area. This is due and payable annually, on or before the 30th June.
    • Social Services Levy-The Housing and Social Development Levy is a payment to the Accountant General who receives it on behalf of the Comptroller of Inland Revenue. It is a governmental measure geared towards assisting in the advancement of housing and social development programs. Under normal circumstances, the total levy contribution is equal to 6.5% of the total wages of each employee. The law gives the employer the right to deduct 3.5% from the employee’s wage, and he/she must pay the full 6.5% to the Social Security Office.
    • Traders Tax
    • Travel Tax
    • Vehicle Rental Levy
    • Wheel Tax-the renewal period is based on the last digit on the number plate e.g. P3325 renews in May.
    • Withholding Tax
    • Driver’s license—Renewable every three years and expires on the holder’s birth date
    • Business licenses-due annually in the month of January

I could not help but noticing, that the bicycle tax and the dog license tax that we paid when I was growing up, are no longer on the books.

Apparently the license tag for the dog cost much more than the little nuts change that is collected for the license.

Well I newa!

So, the natural question is: Where do our tax dollars go? The practitioners indicate that they are used to support the economic and social growth of the country. They are used to build roads, administer hospitals, provide education for our children, provide a police force and pay for the administration of government.

Sadly, my investigation reveals that the shoe is now on the other foot. Instead of Tax collectors, mercilessly and unlawfully exacting huge sums, illegally from the pockets of the ordinary man, it now appears as if the ordinary man has made it a policy to evade Tax collectors and to not pay or under pay, as far as possible.

Well I newa!

Hence, the Inland Revenue department has to deal with fraudsters, on a regular basis. The focus is mainly on the detection of basic non-compliance, such as omission of income, inclusion of non-deductible expenses, and classification of items between expenses and capital items

Definitely, honesty is the best policy and Jesus himself admonishes us ‘to render unto Caesar, the things which are Caesar’s.’

So let us pay our taxes with due diligence and help our beloved island/country to progress and we in turn will benefit whether directly or indirectly, through the varied uses of such funds.

That’s the way I see it. How do you see it?

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