The tax that is not always paid
An approach to a reality that some ignore and others infringe
Author: Pastor Batista Valdes
A CubaNews translation.
Edited by Walter Lippmann.
LAS TUNAS. – If everybody knew that for each peso of salary that a company pays a worker, it has to pay the wtate 25 cents tax for the use of the work force (besides the 12,5 cents for social security) maybe more people would be more conscious of the need to use every minute of their labor day correctly.
BESIDES AIMING AT TRIBUTARY DISCIPLINE, THIS TAX SHOULD ENDOURAGE A MORE EFFICIENT USE OF THE WORK FORCE.
But, for many years there has been little knowledge of ta law and an absence of a tax culture. This is true not only for the general population but also of managers of productive and service companies; so much so that many people ask themselves, taxes? What is that?
Specialists from the provincial branch of the Finances and Prices Ministry and from the National Office of Tributary Administration (ONAT) explain that this obligation, which is instituted not only in Cuba, applies to all natural and juridical persons, Cuban or foreign, that have employees, and is calculated from the wages, salaries, bonuses and other payments given to those workers (Law No. 73 of the tributary system, 4-8-1994, chapter X).
Modifications introduced in 2006 to Resolution 240/2002 included budget units in the list of tax payers (they had been excluded until then). Credit and Service Cooperatives (CCS) and state agricultural units were temporarily excluded if the personnel they hire are working directly in agricultural production or in woodlands.
Stated in these terms, there should be no problems in its enforcement. On the other hand, reality doesn’t always live up to expectations.
Audits carried out in the county last year by ONAT supervisors revealed irregularities amounting to 2,170,400 pesos, for the most part concentrated on 12 entities of the sugar industry, 23 entities subordinated to local government and ten to the agriculture ministry. From January to May (2009) irregularities amounted to more than 900 000 pesos.
One wonders: If those audits reviewed only part of the possible universe, how much money is not being paid in the territory and what are the consequences for national economy? Possibly, nobody can say.
WHO’S PAYING FOR THIS?
Supervisor Pedro Quesada thinks one thing is clear: if the tax is not paid the law stipulates a fine. But, where will the money come from to pay that fine?
The budget does not include these types of expenses, therefore the situation is “solved” by diminishing the entity’s efficiency or its budget, and this causes serious damage to our country.
“We lack culture – says Milaida Aerie, sub-director of Finances and Prices -, maybe we need more knowledge, more popularization, and more seminars. But, we also need to be stricter. If whoever is responsible for the irregularity had to pay the fine from his/her own pocket, the situation would be different. But in the end it is Liborio (the State) who pays for the broken china.”
Not all managers act like the one in the Milk Basin Company.
Fe Esperanza Álvarez, of that company says, “When we finish calculating the payrolls, we calculate the tax, prepare it quickly and deposit it in the Bank. This happens month after month. I won’t deny that at some point we had difficulties with some of our units, but they are already solved. This year we only have two CCS and a Cooperative of Agricultural Production (CPA) in trouble, not for unpaid taxes, but for old debts.”
A timely word can solve future problems. “We are not inflexible – said Velia Proll Gamboa, ONAT sub-director in the municipality -; if a taxpayer is in a difficult situation and requests a postponement, we study the case, verify with the bank, see the bank statements and if the conditions are justified, authorize the postponement.”
In fact, entities like those of the agriculture (CCS, CPA, Basic Units of Cooperative Production) have received credit and special treatment since 2005, because of the havoc caused by many years of drought (first) and then the lashing of hurricanes later. This doesn’t mean that they have been relieved from responsibilities or obligations with the revenue.
What is unacceptable is that, due to negligence, the taxes go unpaid or units are late in making bank deposits. For example, if the deposit the CCS have to make are late, this is not the responsibility of those who work directly in the fields, but of those who are part of the managing board. Although here, this is not a serious problem, it can have repercussions in other territories.
Many, as Alberto González, of the provincial delegation of the agricultural ministry, recognize that the information and conferences the Tributary Administration Office gives to the economic personnel [of the units] is very valuable. They also value the installation of the program Sentry, designed to remind personnel that the tax needs to be paid; several days before the due date a reminder pops up every time the computer is activated.
Regrettably, some do not value these alternatives, others wait until they are ‘caught napping’” and there are still others who “pull faces” if the press points them out for not paying or for being morose. But, who “pulls faces” for the millions of pesos that don’t come in, for the loss it represents for the nation and all its inhabitants?
One needs to ponder about this, especially when a company is about to violate its tributary obligations, or when managers decide to hire more workers that will increase the work force tax, without having efficiently used the capabilities of those who have conformed its payroll until that instant.