Published On: Sun, Jul 26th, 2020

Dramatic drop in road tax revenue

Mini Audit Report GAC Motorvehicle Tax

PHILIPSBURG – Revenue from the road tax fell sharply in the first quarter of the year – from 9.1 to 5.7 million guilders it appears from a mini audit conducted by the General Audit Chamber. The report was submitted to Parliament last Thursday, July 23.

The government points to the outbreak of the corona-virus crisis as the main reason for the drop, but the Audit Chamber questions this: the due date for the payment of the road tax was March 19, therefore before the lockdown went into effect on March 22.

The government extended the due date from February 29 to March 13 due to delivery problems with the new license plates.

The Audit Chamber report points out that all other taxes showed a higher realization compared to 2019 – the only exception being the transfer tax that was down 0.3 million.

But the fact remains that the road tax should have been collected before the lockdown on March 22. The Audit Chamber suspects that the absence of physical license plates is the real reason for the dramatic drop in revenue.

With the exception of 2018, 2013 is the only other year when the government collected less road tax in the first quarter. In 2018 this was due to the effect of Hurricane Irma; in 2013 it was caused by a decision to use stickers instead of new license plates.

Finance Minister Ardwell Irion told the auditors that the new plates are expected to arrive in the second half of the year and that he bought stickers for use until the end of the year. He intends to use the previously ordered plates for the fiscal year 2021.

There is a catch: legislation to make these changes possible is a work in progress.

Civil servants have the option to pay their road tax in three installments, the auditors discovered. These installments were to be withheld from salaries in the months March, April and May, while the deadline for all others was March 13. The Audit Chamber wonders why there is a different deadline for civil servants.

The auditors also “suspect” that the first installment was not withheld in March but in May. “It would have been appropriate to inform each participant in advance or ask their permission to withhold salary starting in May, in part because of the uncertainty about potential future salary reductions.”


Related links:
Mini Audit Report Motor Vehicle Tax
Audit report: business license process is cumbersome