PHILIPSBURG, Sint Maarten — Our team detected a very extraordinary condition between Tax Inspectorate, the Pension Federal Ordinance and the current physical pension values. The Inspectorate is busy assessing the pensioners in a very unbalanced manner due to the following:
Some pensioners receive Naf. 10.000 per year or less, depending on their status on the island. The individuals fill the tax returns in accordance to their income declaration of the SZV, however, the Tax Inspectorate decides to increase the taxable income up to Naf. 25,000 with the argument, that the cost of living could not be sustained with the amount declared.
Considering that approx. 60% of the Dutch Caribbean employees earn the minimum wage, how does Government go about this matter. The minimum wage is Naf. 1350, the full pension as of 2020 is Naf. 1,240 in accordance with the resolution amendment of July 2020 and the Tax office established the living standard at Naf. 25,000
It is disturbing that the Tax Department is of the opinion that Naf. 25000 should be the taxation standard and the Pension/Minimum wage is way under. The question that arises is why the standard for the cost of living with a taxation objective is higher than what is established in the Labor laws and Pension Ordinances that force the most vulnerable in a position of distress.
In addition, most pensioners do file their tax returns and find out later that whiplash is in the woodwork, not to mention the possible late filing of the protest letter, making the tax assessment solid. Another question that arises is if the perception of the Tax Department could be used by the Pensioners organization to increase the pension amount due to the already established minimum for the cost of living for taxation purposes by the highest Government Institution (Tax office) via a Court case.
Due to the existing condition a high number of pensioners that are not collecting the full pension, are being financially violated and forced to continue to work after reaching the pension age. This condition contemplates a very interesting point of discussion that may be brought forward by the Pensioners’ Organizations in Sint Maarten.