Categorized | Opinions

TAX NEGOTIATION: Then What?

 

By Man from Baker Hill

How did we get here? How did Montserratians managed to accumulate a $30 million income tax debt to themselves? Was it listless greed or blatant ignorance? The answer lies deep within each of us… the truth will set us free. But if we tell ourselves lies, foolishness or stupidness long enough we will begin to believe and accept them as truths.

Now, it seems as if our attitude towards income tax has become genetic …an inherited attachment.  Our tax attitude has stuck to us like memories of slavery; and those memories – though only in our genetic blueprint – keep Montserrat back.

Therefore, we must be very careful how we think; because ultimately, our thoughts are reflected in Montserrat’s social, political and economic development. And everyone knows that we are on the brink and still slipping back.

But seriously, how did we get there? The answer should not surprise. Almost every Montserratian will say that we pay too much tax. Or you might hear some say, ‘the tax collectors are grudge and out of their ‘fetchin’ minds’; that the Comptroller was out to get us so he callously applied the tax laws.   Whatever caused this $30 million uncollectible tax arrear stalemate between nation and nationals should be mercilessly searched for, bagged and put to sea with leaden weight. It must never surface again. If it is spitefulness by the tax collector, it must be unmasked and be laid bare. If it is natural greed… the desire to get the most, to keep all and not to give back any, then we will have to apply the short and long arm of the law fairly.

Could the answer be – we are here with millions of dollars of uncollectible tax arrears because we have not been good? It is that plain and simple. Clearly, we – all of us with tax arrears, broke the law. How else could we have been forced to pay fine and interest on a debt?  It is because we failed to be good citizens. Imagine we owed ourselves $40 million because we chose to be lawbreakers, what a national disgrace!  And some of us will shoot to kill; some will go to the gallows; some will gladly give up the ghost – the gift of life and custom – just so as not to pay up their income tax. I am almost sure that each of our departed and celebrated icons left a tax arrear bill behind; they must have been on the list too.

I believe that paying tax is good. And I believe that ‘goodness’ is the only thing that will save us from ourselves. I shall add though; it is ‘goodness’ with contentment that is the foundation of wealth, social fulfilment, joy and happiness for nation and nationals. The Good Book explains that those who have plenty will always get more. It is the law of the universe, the law of nature and God. Therefore it does not matter how much tax or charity you pay or give, you will get it back tenfold. The only condition is that you must be contented with what you pay or give. In fact satisfied taxpayers create a blessed and prosperous nation.

So please, Montserratians, we need to be good citizens and obey the tax laws of our nation. The law is ours. It is our legislators who make those laws. And it is we who vote for the legislators to do what is best for the nation. They remind us at every legislative council meeting.

Yes Tax Negotiation, then what? Certainly we must chart a way forward that speak less of Rubenomic prosecution and punishment; maybe education would be a better word to use. Tax education must be the way forward. And in the process it would do us good to teach the functions of government as well as the collection of tax and its uses.  The education must seek to invoke a feeling and knowledge that income tax is akin to breast milk – necessary for survival.  Yes, tax education must follow tax negotiation; it must be tax education from cradle to grave, especially for legislators. Tax education might bring into Montserrat the spirit of goodness we need for real national development to start.

Read Man from Baker Hill – Search the Archives from 1996 at www.montserratreporter.org

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A Moment with the Registrar of Lands

 

By Man from Baker Hill

How did we get here? How did Montserratians managed to accumulate a $30 million income tax debt to themselves? Was it listless greed or blatant ignorance? The answer lies deep within each of us… the truth will set us free. But if we tell ourselves lies, foolishness or stupidness long enough we will begin to believe and accept them as truths.

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Now, it seems as if our attitude towards income tax has become genetic …an inherited attachment.  Our tax attitude has stuck to us like memories of slavery; and those memories – though only in our genetic blueprint – keep Montserrat back.

Therefore, we must be very careful how we think; because ultimately, our thoughts are reflected in Montserrat’s social, political and economic development. And everyone knows that we are on the brink and still slipping back.

But seriously, how did we get there? The answer should not surprise. Almost every Montserratian will say that we pay too much tax. Or you might hear some say, ‘the tax collectors are grudge and out of their ‘fetchin’ minds’; that the Comptroller was out to get us so he callously applied the tax laws.   Whatever caused this $30 million uncollectible tax arrear stalemate between nation and nationals should be mercilessly searched for, bagged and put to sea with leaden weight. It must never surface again. If it is spitefulness by the tax collector, it must be unmasked and be laid bare. If it is natural greed… the desire to get the most, to keep all and not to give back any, then we will have to apply the short and long arm of the law fairly.

Could the answer be – we are here with millions of dollars of uncollectible tax arrears because we have not been good? It is that plain and simple. Clearly, we – all of us with tax arrears, broke the law. How else could we have been forced to pay fine and interest on a debt?  It is because we failed to be good citizens. Imagine we owed ourselves $40 million because we chose to be lawbreakers, what a national disgrace!  And some of us will shoot to kill; some will go to the gallows; some will gladly give up the ghost – the gift of life and custom – just so as not to pay up their income tax. I am almost sure that each of our departed and celebrated icons left a tax arrear bill behind; they must have been on the list too.

I believe that paying tax is good. And I believe that ‘goodness’ is the only thing that will save us from ourselves. I shall add though; it is ‘goodness’ with contentment that is the foundation of wealth, social fulfilment, joy and happiness for nation and nationals. The Good Book explains that those who have plenty will always get more. It is the law of the universe, the law of nature and God. Therefore it does not matter how much tax or charity you pay or give, you will get it back tenfold. The only condition is that you must be contented with what you pay or give. In fact satisfied taxpayers create a blessed and prosperous nation.

So please, Montserratians, we need to be good citizens and obey the tax laws of our nation. The law is ours. It is our legislators who make those laws. And it is we who vote for the legislators to do what is best for the nation. They remind us at every legislative council meeting.

Yes Tax Negotiation, then what? Certainly we must chart a way forward that speak less of Rubenomic prosecution and punishment; maybe education would be a better word to use. Tax education must be the way forward. And in the process it would do us good to teach the functions of government as well as the collection of tax and its uses.  The education must seek to invoke a feeling and knowledge that income tax is akin to breast milk – necessary for survival.  Yes, tax education must follow tax negotiation; it must be tax education from cradle to grave, especially for legislators. Tax education might bring into Montserrat the spirit of goodness we need for real national development to start.

Read Man from Baker Hill – Search the Archives from 1996 at www.montserratreporter.org