Lower road tax income due to delayed plates?
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Lower road tax income due to delayed plates?

SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) - The General Audit Chamber submitted its report entitled “Mini audit on the income from motor vehicle tax” to Parliament today. The report presents findings and conclusions about the collection of revenue from the motor vehicle tax, sometimes referred to as the ‘road tax’.

An analysis of the evolution of motor vehicle tax (road tax) income shows an upward trend except for 2013 and 2018 (after Hurricane Irma). For 2020, this trend seems to have stalled. Using the first quarterly report of 2020, the Audit Chamber found that income fell sharply compared to the same period in 2019. The difference in road tax revenue between the first quarter in 2020 and the first quarter 2019 is ANG 3.4 million.

Government explained that the loss of tax revenue was caused by delays related to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Audit Chamber questions this reason given that the due date for payment of road tax (March 19th) pre-dates the ‘lockdown’ at the end of March 2020.

A more likely cause is the lack of physical license plates, according to the Audit Chamber. Using the historical data, the Audit Chamber revealed that, except for the period after Hurricane Irma in 2018, the only other period of reduced road tax income occurred in 2013. In that year, there was a decision to use control stickers, instead of new license plates.

According to the Minister of Finance, stickers have once again been purchased for use until the end of 2020. The previously ordered license plates will most probably be used in 2021. Stickers for 2020 are expected to arrive in the week of July 27th and distribution of stickers to the public will quickly follow, according to the ministry. The Audit Chamber recommended that the minister develop a solution to accommodate those persons who already paid for physical license plates.

The report is published in both English and Dutch and is available on the website of the General Audit Chamber (www.arsxm.org).

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