[private] They came in droves with their DEI jackets, note books and calculators. Within a week Utila looked like it was under siege with bewildered tourists trying to find a place to eat or drink. Dozens of businesses where shut down for minor infractions like not having your RTN number on your receipts. Fines where dished out like candies from overzealous tax agents.
Within a relative short time, Utila was all but paralyzed by our ruthless DEI agents sending shockwaves through the business community. Yellow tape with “YO INFRINGI LA LEY” [I broke the law] was placed on doors of many businesses. The way the different fines where calculated and presented on a scrap of paper struck me quite odd. They wanted to see perfect documentation, but never reciprocated. A lot of people where outraged by this ruthless abuse of power never previously seen here by a government agency. Laws were chanced at the convenience of the tax agents. Minimum fines from Lps 22,000 up to over a million Lempiras were a come on occurrences.
With an Island catering mostly to backpackers and economy minded tourist who travel on budgets, the profit margin of many business are barely around 10%. The sad part is that the shutdown of so many businesses put a lot of people who are already poor out of work.
Most people I spoke to agreed that tax collection is necessary, but condemned the way it is done here. The diving community decided for their own survival to fight that case on a higher level, one thing is certain at this rate of extortion, many businesses will have to shut down and next year there will be no taxes to collect.
If you kill the golden goose out of greed you will see the repercussions down the road whatever happened to our “tax free” status the Bay Island are supposed to enjoy. On June 16 some business owners called a meeting with tax lawyers and some of the errors on side of the tax agents were discovered.
If this situation continues and is not solved in a sensible ways the island way of life we all cherish so much and which attracts people from all over the world might be a thing of the past. We have survived hurricanes, earthquakes, coups, but the question remains if will we survive that threat to our financial stability. [/private]