SER: No legal basis for tax forgiveness by finance minister

WILLEMSTAD - The Social and Economic Council (SER) has concluded that neither the Collection Ordinance nor any other regulation grants the Finance Minister the authority to issue tax forgiveness. This is based on a yet unpublished advisory regarding a draft national ordinance on tax revenue restructuring. 

The SER states that the Finance Minister could not lawfully enact this tax forgiveness measure without a legal basis. In Curaçao, it is customary to implement tax provisions only through a directive or legal regulation. The advisory emphasizes that tax forgiveness measures prior to 2017 can still be incorporated into an 'opportunity law.' 

Pre-Summer 2024 

The Department of Legislation and Legal Affairs (WJZ) has indicated that the legalization of tax measures is only possible if these measures were previously published. The SER warns that it is not beneficial for legal certainty if the minister independently takes such measures without a legal basis. This can undermine public trust in the government. 

Furthermore, the SER advises that tax forgiveness granted before 2017 should preferably be approved by Parliament. This would create a legal foundation and prevent the retroactive application of measures. Public trust should be paramount, according to the SER. 

The advisory also criticizes the effectiveness of the tax forgiveness package. The SER assesses that the package should not only be cost-effective but also strategically sound. Various improvements have been suggested to optimize implementation and outcomes.