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AG Faris Al Rawi

The tax gap, the difference between the amount owed to the State and the amount actually paid, currently stands between $12 and $15 billion per year.

During his contribution to yesterday’s debate on the matter, Al-Rawi said that the revenue management pays for citizens to be able to live in the country. He said that internal revenue is what pays for grants and takes care of the homeless and the aged. He says that it is revenue collected from the citizenry that pays for utilities, like water and electricity as well.

In the years when the State received most of its owed taxes, the tax gap still stood at roughly $7 billion.

Attorney General Faris Al-Rawi revealed the figures during his contribution to the T&T Revenue Authority Bill debate at Senate yesterday.

“So our tax gap, the money that we are not collecting, that we should collect from corporations, by tax evasion, by fraud, by inefficiency, our tax gap is almost doubled what we have by way of deficit,” he said

He said that the Government is forced to borrow money to bridge that gap.

“If everybody pays their fair share, this country can run on a tax surplus,” he said.

“By simply implementing a more fair, efficient and equitable system of revenue collection, this country need not look to oil and gas revenue, this country need not look to high rates of taxation, this country can simply apply for everyone to pay their fair share,” Al-Rawi said.

Al-Rawi said more money, once collected through a more efficient TTRA could be spent on crime.

The AG also revealed that the country lost a whopping 96 percent of its internal revenue in 2016.

Al-Rawi blamed that loss on bad decisions by the former administration, one year after the change in Government, the country lost that revenue.