In a Superior Court suit filed Sept. 2 against Bureau of Internal Revenue Director Claudette Watson-Anderson, St. Croix attorney Lee Rohn claims that Watson-Anderson knew that business names published in a list of delinquent hotel occupancy and gross receipts taxes included some that already paid those taxes.
“Several people told her there were multiple mistakes,” Rohn said.
Rohn said that she filed the suit against Watson-Anderson rather than the BIR because Watson-Anderson allegedly was told by bureau employees that the list included businesses that were paid up.
Rohn said she doesn’t have a list of those included erroneously but has heard from accountants representing multiple clients.
The list includes 34 businesses the BIR claims didn’t pay hotel occupancy taxes and 1,164 that it said didn’t pay gross receipts taxes.
Watson-Anderson previously said those delinquent businesses owe the V.I. government somewhere between $35 million and $40 million.
BIR published the list because the Legislature mandated it in the Economic Stability Act passed in June. The accounts are at least six months past due. The law also allows the publishing of those delinquent on their excise taxes but there are none on the list.
Questions posed to BIR attorney Tammy Smalls were referred to Attorney General Vincent Frazer. He did not return a phone call requesting comment and more information.
Rohn filed on behalf of herself and “all persons similarly situated.”
The suit claims that those whose names were published had their reputations damaged.
While she’s asking for a jury trial, Rohn said what she really wants is for Watson-Anderson to rescind the list.
“She knows it’s wrong,” Rohn said.
Rohn is also asking for “compensatory and punitive” damages.