MP Christopher Emmanuel revisits AUC tax deal

POSTED: 02/5/15 5:07 PM

St. Maarten – National Alliance MP Christopher Emmanuel revisited the tax liabilities of the previous owner of the American University in Cupecoy yesterday during the first round of the budget debate.

Emmanuel said that the previous owners had received two tax assessments, of 70 million guilders ($39.1 million) each and claimed that the company had paid just 10 percent of the assessment.

The truth is that the fiscal dispute is still playing out in civil court.

The AUC was sold in 2013 to the American Devry Inc. group for $235 million – $200 million in goodwill and $35 million for the real estate.

Prior to the sale, the AUC made a deal with the tax inspectorate whereby, according to our sources, it paid $7.2 million. This amount consisted of $1.5 million in outstanding taxes, $1.2 million in transfer tax on the sale of the real estate. That left $4.5 million the company paid in so-called ‘stakingswinst’, taxes that are due when a company ceases its activities.

The tariff for stakingswinst is 25 percent, so the university owed $50 million in taxes over the $200 million it collected from Devry Inc. In reality, the university paid just 2.25 percent.

The American Associated Group NV, Tien’s entity that sold the university to Devry, stated in 2013 in a press release that settling its tax debts with the government was a condition to the sale. If no agreement had been reached, the press release stated, parties would have found a different way to complete their transaction whereby the government would not have received a penny in taxes.

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