Despite paying taxes, Cubans have no rights

Idolidia Darias in Martí News:

Despite paying taxes, Cubans have no rights

Small business operators Cuba

People who fail to comply with the tax requirement or provide inaccurate or fraudulent data face penalties and fines.

The Affidavit and Payment of Taxes Campaign 2014 has begun in Cuba. Any Cuban or legalized resident of the island who had a small businesses or was self-employed last year, must pay their 2013 taxes by April 30.

The National Tax Action Office (or ONAT, but its initials in Spanish) called for taxpayers to be truthful when reporting their annual income and warned that those who fail to comply with this requirement or provide inaccurate or fraudulent data, will face sanctions and could be fined up to 660 Cuban dollars (CUP).

Former law student Frank Abel Garcia, a 33 year old resident of the capital, is taken aback because, “it puts Cubans face-to-face with unfamiliar laws and regulations for which they aren’t prepared.”

The population is illiterate in matters of knowing their rights as taxpayers. University courses for example, never teach subjects on how the economy works in a country where the individual has to pay taxes and they don’t know that they have the right to make demands as a taxpayer, Garcia told

“People also don’t have practical experience paying taxes,” added Garcia.

The economic changes in recent years that allow some private business forces everyone to study and analyze how the law works because so far, “people pay taxes but do not know that it gives them a civil right,” says the young man.

“I know of self-employed people who make the payment to stay out of trouble, but they do not know what they can demand as taxpayers.”

The new code that must be met in 2014 is the first time full taxation has been seen in Cuba, since the revolution of 1959 abolished this civic obligation.

Retired publicist Fernando Damaso, 73, believes that the government’s announcement on taxation and regulations are a prelude to very difficult times for the country. Damaso says that the country has to “adapt to submit to absolute laws that impose the payment of taxes, and yet gives no rights to citizens to voice their demands.”

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