PHILIPSBURG – Minister of Finance Richard Gibson clarified comments attributed to him in media reports, which suggested government was considering introducing a 6% turnover tax on goods purchased online and brought into St. Maarten.
The Minister said he is against raising taxes or introducing new taxes as he believes taxes in St. Maarten are already too high. He reminded the public that when he took office he withdrew the National Ordinance to increase the motor vehicle tax, which was proposed under the previous government.
“Taxes are already too high and I do not believe, and it is not my intention to raise taxes in any form,” Gibson said.
The Minister explained that his comments in one of the most recent Council of Ministers Press Briefing on ToT in relation to online purchases was made in the context of his meeting with the Director of the Princess Julianna International Airport (PJIA). Minister Gibson said the airport management wanted to impose a four-cent-per-kilo charge on goods coming into St. Maarten and that this could be seen as an imposition of duties by the airport. He noted that the airport does not have the authority to do this and as such if the government were considering imposing such a duty, it would come into conflict with what the airport was planning to do.
“To avoid this, I told them to seek another path other than charging for goods coming into the Airport,” he said. Minister Gibson said the media reports that said he was considering charging ToT on imports was against his philosophy and had started a lot of discussion in the community. He conceded that he “misspoke” as it relates to a 6% ToT, when in fact the ToT is currently 5%.