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BTL tax dispute continues as Attorney General weighs in

Posted: Saturday, January 11, 2020. 10:25 am CST.

By Aaron Humes: Financial Secretary Joseph Waight has turned to Attorney General Michael Peyrefitte for legal advice on the recently completed audit of Belize Telemedia Limited (BTL), which is accused of owing $25 million in General Sales Tax (GST) over several years.

Last July, leaked documents indicated that the then-General Sales Tax Department audited the majority-state-owned telephone company and found it owed the $25 million in uncollected taxes, which B.T.L. denied. A new audit was undertaken by the Belize Tax Service Department (BTSD) and Secretary Waight told the Reporter Newspaper that this audit is complete and B.T.L. must pay up.

The Attorney General says his task here is “to render an opinion as to whether or not B.T.L. should pay the money or not. We are in the process of analyzing that and I would have to sit down with several members of the AG’s team and then we will make a determination which, in our opinion, should be the case.”

He intends to give his decision within the week, but notes that, “I completely understand why B.T.L. would not want to pay and I can completely understand why the Fin Sec would want them to pay.  So yes, they have sought their legal advice.  It could come down to one of two things, I either agree with the advice of their counsel or I agree with the advice of the Fin Sec and the position of the Fin Sec but I have to give an objective analysis of that.”


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