Rosado will seek relief from GST assessment from the court
BELIZE CITY, Thurs. Nov. 16, 2017–Last Friday, about 50 persons, mostly from Belize’s activist community, staged a protest in front of the Charles Bartlett Hyde Building on Mahogany Street, where the offices of the General Sales Tax (GST) are located. The protest was in support of businessman Yhony Rosado, a pioneer in the provision of cave-tubing tours, whom the GST has assessed with a whopping $690,000 in back taxes.
In an interview with Amandala today, Rosado said, “The GST assessment was done maliciously. It was done rapidly, without me being a part of it. Whenever any government department office or institution is auditing you, they question you and they work with you to make sure they get the best information for the benefit of both parties.”
Rosado added, “In my case, they did it behind my back. And they got most of the information from NICH [National Institute of Culture and History] without my authorization. The protest and all the media attention have helped me to put my point across, whereby we have seen the corruption on the part of the GST against my business and against my person.”
Rosado said that he has consulted with two attorneys, but currently his primary source of professional expertise on the matter is the accountant Cedric Flowers. “That is how you have to do it. You have to do the homework first, and that is what Mr. Flowers is doing,” Rosado remarked. “Mr. Flowers has already discovered some huge, malicious mistakes in the GST assessment,” Rosado said.
Amandala asked Rosado when he was supposed to have paid the $690,000, and if interest is being accumulated on this amount. Rosado said that the amount became due as soon as the assessment was sent.
Rosado said that the GST department has not given him a fair chance “and so whenever I go to court, the court will determine how much I should pay.”
“For how many years the GST has assessed you to arrive at the figure that they said you owe in back taxes?” we asked Rosado.
“They went back 9 years, but I was told that they should only go back for 5 or 6 years,” Rosado said.
“Any government institution should be here to help Belizean business. They should not be here to shut us down. I have done nothing wrong, so I remain open. We have sent them a letter and they have not responded. We will send them another letter, and if they don’t respond, we will file court papers,” Rosado explained.
Amandala attempted to speak to the GST Commissioner, but we were told that she was in a meeting with one of her senior staff members. We were able to speak to Evan Brown, who is an Assistant Commissioner of GST.
We asked Brown for an official comment regarding Yhony Rosado’s predicament. He told us that we would have to put our question in writing.
“Well, we are only trying to get an official response from the department and you are on the phone now”, Amandala told Brown.
Brown responded that the department is sticking by its assessment.