PHILIPSBURG, St. Maarten – Natasha Manuela of Prudential Tax Services (www.pts-sxm) has confirmed the fraud situation statement made by St. Maarten Chamber of Commerce and Industry (COCI). The firm brought this information through its international risk auditor partner to COCI at the beginning of October after conducting an E-Forensic Audit for one of its clients.
The impact of this act of suspected fraud expands further than purchases made by the suspected fraudster were considered as purchases by the real stakeholder in the taxations for TOT and Profit Tax environment during Tax investigation Audits.
Unfortunately, the Tax office did not consider nor investigate the allegations of the stakeholder. This situation is extremely sensitive as the burden of proof relies now with the management of the stakeholders to prove that these purchases were not theirs. The Tax Department may be accusing the stakeholder of tax evasion while there are no tax evasion practices. In addition, the firm also confirmed that these forged documents are likely used for residency procedures.
It’s a spiral of events that only will become evident if the St. Maarten business community conducts forensic audits, to establish the external/ internal factors, which indicators may be determining and crucial during a Tax Audit to avoid tax evasions accusations. The protection that COCI should have provided in this matter is “Online Verification” which is a feature available in the entire Dutch Caribbean except St. Maarten.
The consequences of not conducting the forensic audit combined with the fixation of tax authorities is a very bad combination for any businessman trying to make ends meet in the competitive market environment. As such, Prudential Tax Services urges the community to protect their interests as the financial criminals are at work and are not resting to take advantage of risks in St. Maarten. The introduction of risk auditors in SXM has become a must at all levels, and Prudential Tax Services has in house certified specialists in this unique field.
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