Posted: Friday, February 1, 2019. 1:31 pm CST.
By BBN Staff: The Supreme Court of Belize handed down a ruling last week restraining the Income and Business Tax Commissioner from collecting taxes from the Belize Bank due to the outstanding $96 million UHS debt. Financial Secretary Joseph Waight, however, say the government intends to appeal the Supreme Court ruling.
In an interview with the Reporter Newspaper, Waight said GOB believes it has solid grounds on which to appeal the ruling. He also noted that the judge has not handed down a written ruling, only an oral ruling.
Waight also explain that despite reports last week regarding the ruling, the bank is not technically exempt from tax, though the court has restrained the government from enforcing any collection of tax against the bank. According to Waight, the bank continues to accrue taxes, which must be paid at some point.
The court, however, ruled that it was unlawful for the Tax Commissioner to refuse a request from the bank to offset its owed taxes against the unsettled UHS debt, which also continues to accrue interest at 6%. Prime Minister Dean Barrow and his Cabinet have said on numerous occasions that they do not intend to pay the debt.
Waight was asked if GOB has considered settling the matter by offsetting the bank’s taxes against the sum of the judgement but Waight said such a decision would need to come from Cabinet but there have been no discussions on the matter.
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