GET TOUGH: Derek Mohammed

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Poor enforcement of tax laws our biggest issue

ICATT president:

By Carla Bridglal

Non-compliance with tax laws is the biggest financial issue seen by accountants, Institute of Chartered Accountants (ICATT) president Derek Mohammed said on Monday.

"If everyone would pay their taxes, and the correct amount, the Government would have a lot more money to spend... I think there is awareness but a general (apathy)... the Ministry of Finance and auditors and accountants need to operate with more of an iron fist," Mohammed told the Express in a brief interview during ICATT's Petroleum Taxation Seminar at Capital Plaza, Wrightson Road, Port of Spain.

In 2011, the Ministry of Finance's tax amnesty for people owing outstanding taxes up to 2009 netted the Treasury $1.8 billion.

Energy companies, one of the biggest contributors to tax revenue, are very well regulated in their payments, Mohammed added.

ICATT hosted the seminar to sensitise its members to recent changes in the Petroleum Tax regime.

"It is our duty and responsibility to our members and clients to keep them informed and have relevant seminars," he said, adding that he believed these regulatory reforms would encourage and boost the sector.

He said ICATT as a regulatory body was constantly re-examining itself and its policies to remain up to date. The country's financial regime, he continued, regardless of how sophisticated it might be, could always be improved to maintain proper checks and balances.

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