Posted: Friday, January 25, 2019. 8:09 pm CST.
By BBN Staff: The Belize Bank, this week, won a ruling against the Commissioner of Income and Business Tax and the government of Belize, related to the unsettled UHS debt, which almost totals $100 Million. The ruling by Supreme Court Justice Courtney Abel gives the bank exemption from paying tax to the government as long as the debt remains unpaid.
The Belize Bank had filed a submission to the court last year seeking relief after the Tax Commissioner attempted to collect $8.5 Million from the bank, which is what it would normally pay each quarter. The bank had requested that the Commissioner off set its taxes owed against the $96 Million owed to it by the government as per a ruling from the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ).
Justice Abel ruled that the Commissioner’s refusal to off set the taxes against the debt owed to the bank was unlawful and issued an order banning the Commissioner from making any effort to collect any tax from the bank as long as the UHS debt remains unpaid. With that ruling, the government will cease to collect almost $34 Million in taxes per year from the bank.
According to a quote from the Reporter Newspaper, attorney for the bank, Eamon Courtenay said the bank will not pay any taxes until the government pays its debt and added that a 6 percent interest continues to accrue on the $96 Million UHS debt. Another ruling from Chief Justice Kenneth Benjamin regarding the UHS matter was also adjourned this week with no date set for the ruling.
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