Dolphin Cove taking tax authorities to court | Business

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In an ongoing fight over its pre-pandemic taxes, Dolphin Cove Limited has decided to move the battle into court after racking up other concessions from Tax Administration Jamaica.

Last year, the marine park operator had $38 million shaved off the assessed GCT liability of $271.5 million in outstanding taxes and penalties, plus unknown amounts in two other claims that were withdrawn by the tax authorities.

However, In May, the Revenue Appeals Division ruled that Dolphin Cove was still liable for $91.8 million in taxes in relation to the GCT assessments covering the period January 1, 2014, to July 31, 2019. The figure could rise were interest and penalties to be applied.

Dolphin Cove initially said in market filing that it was weighing its options when it disclosed the May 16 tax decision. But now it has said declaratively that it will be fighting the matter in court.

“After discussions held with our counsel, Dolphin Cove has decided to take this case to the court and continue with the appeal process in this new instance. As of the date of this report, there has been no further developments on this matter,” the company said in an update to shareholders in its second-quarter earnings report.

Dolphin Cove has previously said that it could discharge any liability arising from the assessment without adversely affecting its operation.

The marine park attraction has seen a restoration of its business with the resurgence in the tourism and travel markets, leading to what Dolphin Cove’s Chairman & CEO Stafford Burrowes referred to as a remarkable quarter in the April-June period.

Earnings climbed by 20 per cent to US$1.2 million in the June quarter, and pushed six-month profit to US$2.7 million. It resulted from a resurgence in customers as well as a six per cent increase in spend per visitor, which generated a turnover of US$9.3 million for the marine park at half-year.

In addition to its marine parks, Dolphin Cove operates the Yaaman Adventure Park in Negril, where it commissioned a new ride called ‘Fly High’, a five-station zip line that’s popular among visitors.

Burrowes said that while the number of stopover visitors to Jamaica during the quarter remained stable, compared to pre-pandemic times, the cruise market was showing strong performance.

“Although the increase in park visitors during the first half of the year can be partly attributed to the pandemic’s effects in the first part of 2022, it is worth noting that the number of guests was 15 per cent higher than in the same period of 2019,” he said.

karena.bennett@gleanerjm.com

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