Turnquest: Govt will prosecute those who fail to pay taxes

Deputy Prime Minister, Peter Turnquest.

“Poor people pay taxes, its normally the high-end people who can afford to pay that don’t pay”

NASSAU, BAHAMAS – The government will pursue and prosecute persons who do not pay their taxes, said Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance K. Peter Turnquest on Thursday.

At a press conference intended to break down the 2019/2020 budget, Turnquest said a major part of the government missing its fiscal target by $240 million dollars is the failure of Bahamians to pay taxes.

“We have been lax and slack in the enforcement of taxes, and that has had an effect on overall results and the buildup of debt that we have. Each of us has responsibility to pay our fair share,” he said.

“We do not have a progressive tax system, so that requires us to do our part. So those of us who have more should give and you would be surprised to know of those who do not pay their taxes.

“Poor people pay taxes, its normally the high-end people who can afford to pay that don’t pay. So we will collect what is owed to the government within the law.”

Turnquest also said that of the $360 million in arrears left behind by the previous Christie administration, the government has to date paid off $129 million.

“We have budgeted $100 million in this budget and in the next year we will address the balance and in the next three years we will liquidate all that, and that means money will be freed up to help people in the way of duty reductions in the way of new programs to stimulate economic activity and build infrastructure and social programs to have healthy Bahamians,” Turnquest said.