Tax law hitch

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JUSTICE Minister and Attorney-General Davis Steven says the law should apply equally to everyone, such as the tax exemption on allowances which currently applies to Members of Parliament.
He was responding yesterday to the statement by economist Paul Barker, the executive director of the Institute of National Affairs, who said it seemed “odd” that allowances paid to MPs were not taxed while public servants and everyone else had to pay.
“There is one law for all of us. What’s good for the man on the street is also good for office holders, because there is one law for all of us. That’s my position,” Steven said.
“I will look into the statement made by the executive director of the Institute of National Affairs Paul Barker regarding allowances of Members of Parliament (which) are not taxable,” Steven, pictured, said.
“Because that’s a serious issue, that’s a statement that suggest that our laws are being designed to give favourable treatment to certain public servants and officials to not meet the tax burden or responsibility.”
Steven told The National that although he agreed that special treatment should not be given to MPs or constitutional office holders, the salaries paid to them “is a matter of lawful authority”.
“I do not agree that there should be exemptions or special treatments for Members of Parliament or constitutional office holders. But that is not to say that what they have been paid are not according to law,” Steven said.
“Their salaries is a matter of lawful authority.
“To my knowledge as the Attorney-General there is no issue.
“They are correctly paid.
“Authorities that determine how much a leader or a public servant is paid are established by law and they use a lawful formula.
“And if they see that there is a need for change then they will change it.”
Steven said the public and private sectors needed the labour force and he would do his best to address that issue.
“I will find out,” he said.
“What’s fair is fair.
“If a particular taxation policy applies to certain public servants, or members within our employment sector, then it must ensure to apply to everyone.”