PSU President Says Tax Monies Need to Be Paid to Public Officers
President of the Public Service Union (PSU), Dean Flowers, says the Auditor General urgently needs to assemble a team of Public Officers to tackle the Income Tax Returns issue. The PSU issued a press release stating that the issue arose due to a disagreement between the Belize Tax Service Department and certain personalities in the Ministry of Finance. Flowers says they have received complaints that go as far back as at least five years ago that they have been going back and forth between month entities in vain.
Dean Flowers, President, Public Service Union: “There are hundreds of public officers and I dare say perhaps nearing the thousands who are unable to get a tax return from the Belize Tax Services Department. Let’s not forget that when the government strong-armed 10% of the salaries of public officers in our review of salaries it demonstrated that most public officers in the region of 60% of the total number of public officers were earning $30,000 or less per annum which would mean that this category of public officers would have been eligible to earn a considerable amount of overtime prior to COVID. What we are seeing is that complaints are now coming to the union that they’re saying that for five years in some cases six years they have been reaching out to the Belize Tax Services Department then the Income Tax Department to say I want my tax return, I have filed, it shows that I am old thousands, in some cases thousands of dollars and the tax services department has a one-line excuse: “Your ministry / your finance officer has not reconciled.” These public officers go back in some cases so their finance officer and the finance officer would say I have done what I needed to do it’s Belize Tax Services Department. I received a call last week from a teacher and while we don’t represent teachers it would appear that most people would think that the Public Service Union can solve all their problems. So a teacher reached out to me and said for three years she is do over $5000. She puts her finance officer from that high school on the phone who was able to confirm that she had sat, she had sat with the Belize Tax Service Department and reconciled. So where is the problem? It is the Ministry of Education? And if it is the Ministry of Education then we are calling on the Prime Minister to task the Attorney General to do a review of all these problem ministries where people are having difficulty getting back their tax returns. Clearly the Belize Tax Service Department and the respective finance officers have been unable to identify and resolve the issues that they are having.”