Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : October 12th 2017 Contents cover story BG5
Thursday, October 12, 2017
moves ahead with
plans to tackle the
collection of reve-
nue from the infor-
mal sector, mixed
views are emerging from professionals
in the ield who believe they are already
being forced to pay taxes at the grocery, to
suppliers and for other services rendered.
Curepe short drop taxi driver Dave
Juman, 32, agreed, "Taxi drivers don't re-
ally pay any kind of taxes."
Operating ten years as a registered "H"
driver, Juman said if regulations were put
in place to police them, it might render
"Taxi drivers don't go home with ixed
salaries. Sometimes we will not make a
decent day's pay while other days will be
Juman said if measures were introduced
to collect taxes from people in this sector
only the registered drivers will feel it.
The father of two said the hustle by pri-
vate hire (PH) cars was "licking us up."
He said as passengers opt to travel with
PH drivers, the fares of legitimate taxis
had been steadily declining.
This, he said, coupled with increased
prices for fuel and tyres, had made it
more dif icult to maintain their presence
on the roads.
PH driver Eddie said while he is aware it
is illegal, he was left without a choice after
he was laid off from his job two years ago.
He said as the company he worked for
downsized, he and ten others were let go
as they were described as surplus labour.
Forced to operate his private vehicle
in order to provide for his two-year-old
daughter as he sought legitimate employ-
ment, Eddie said, "I began to hustle pas-
sengers and soon realised I could make
quick, easy and tax-free dollars."
He sheepishly admits, "Yeah, I know
it is wrong and we taking away from the
taxis, but everybody have to live."
He said he will deal with the issue of
taxes whenever it comes.
"I guess when the government decides
how they going to do it, the PH drivers will
have to decide what they going to do but
for now I'm working my car. As long as I
getting money to take care of my child, I
Meanwhile, a northern-based promi-
nent attorney who has been practicing
for more than ten years declared, "the
government is correct."
He said while many in the profession
may want to do the right thing and declare
their earnings, the bureaucratic system
was not fair.
The attorney urged the government
not to single out individuals employed in
white-collar jobs alone.
He said hairdressers, barbers, lessons
teachers, caterers, mechanics, plumbers,
electricians, masons, construction work-
ers, sno-cone vendors, nuts sellers and
those hustling with drinks carts all needed
to brought into the equation as they too
were earning an income daily.
"I will never say targeting the informal
sector is wrong, but it ought to be done
with a certain amount of equity and no fa-
vouritism being extended to anyone."
A lessons teacher offering private
classes out of her home in Chaguanas
said, "To introduce regulations would
work against us."
She disputed claims that lessons teach-
ers were "making a killing" by charging
exorbitant fees for after-school sessions.
The educator with 29 years service of-
fered, "I do a lot of charity as I offer free
classes to four students every year. Peo-
ple look at us and think we are charging
to make a pro it, but when you factor in
our expenses---educational material and
supplies for the students, along with
overhead costs such as electricity, rent
and other requirements---we don't always
make a pro it."
Indicating she was charging for her time
and experience as a teacher, the woman
asked, "how can you quantify that?"
A mother of three who has been selling
doubles in San Juan for the past 17 years
said, "I don't agree with taxes for this sec-
tor. We are already paying VAT on all gro-
cery items and it is unfair."
With sales having declined dramatically
during 2016 and 2017 so far, she added,
"We won't be able to manage if a tax is
imposed and with the market being so
saturated now, it has made things more
dif icult to continue."
Vanessa, 28, who operates a hairdress-
ing salon in St Helena, said while it was
important for everyone to pay taxes, it
was equally important to ensure compli-
The mother of two asked, "It is true
we don't pay taxes now but how do they
intend to make sure that everyone com-
She argued it was unfair for some peo-
ple alone to be taxed, while others contin-
ued to get away.
"I don't have a problem paying taxes be-
cause I know the government needs the
money, but it has to be done in a fair man-
ner so everyone contributes something at
the end of the day."
I don't have a problem
paying taxes because I
know the government
needs the money, but it
manner so everyone
contributes something at
the end of the day.
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