In the Labyrinth of Taxes
In the Labyrinth of Taxes / 14ymedio, Zunilda Mata
Posted on January 13, 2016
14ymedio, Zunilda Mata, Havana, 13 January 2016 – Several scribbled
papers and a severe headache is what Claribel got this Monday, when the
self-employed dressmaker started to fill out her tax form. With the
recent start of the tax campaign for the 2015 tax year, doubts are
arising about how best to comply with the duties to the Treasury.
Officials of the National Tax Administration Office (ONAT) call on
people not to delay and to pay their taxes before the 30 April,
deadline. The chief of the state entity, Yamile Perez Diaz, criticized
those delinquent during a press conference last week, although she added
that “greater discipline and a tax-paying culture” is evident in the
This year ONAT has added the ability for taxpayers to send the main
form, known as DJ-08, by email. The move could speed up receipt of the
document and guarantee that it reaches the right hands, instead of
getting lost in the inefficient Cuban postal service.
However, the improvements announced are not enough for people like
Claribel, who for most of her life only heard about taxes as an evil of
the capitalist past. For her, filling out the declaration presents
obstacles almost impossible to overcome. “Next year I’ll hire someone to
help me even though I will have to give them give part of my earnings,”
Mairell Naranjo offers financial advice to small private businesses and
also handles all of the license holder’s ONAT paperwork. Her specialty
is the payment of monthly and quarterly taxes, plus the preparation of
the tax return.
Services like those offered by Naranjo are well received among the the
country’s 496,400 self-employed. Computerized tools that help keep track
of a business and accurately calculate profits and taxes have also begun
to be available.
Under the name Cuentapro, a tax program sold on the informal market
that allows “efficient management of accounts,” according to Alexander,
the young man who created it. It keeps a thorough record of payments to
employees, costs for buying goods, and un-taxed earnings, letting the
self-employed person know “what goes into our pocket and what we have to
give ONAT,” says one of the sellers of the software.
Like every year, those who meet their tax obligations before 28 February
will be entitled to a discount of 5%. Last year, only 67% of taxpayers
filed for this benefit.
In 2015, the gross income declared by the self-employed totaled 3.825
billion Cuban pesos. This represented an increase of one billion over
the previous year. However, 68,000 taxpayers were called to account by
ONAT for declaring incomes below those estimated by the tax
Source: In the Labyrinth of Taxes / 14ymedio, Zunilda Mata | Translating