Gov’t Moves to Bring more Persons Under the Tax Net

Finance and Planning Minister, Dr. Omar Davies, has said that during this financial year, the government would be re-doubling its efforts to bring more persons under the tax net.
Dr. Davies, who was speaking during yesterday’s (April 12) opening of the 2007/08 Budget Debate in the House of Representatives, said that as part of the efforts, the Financial Secretary would be working with the Director General of Tax Administration to establish a team of astute revenue agents “to increase the size of the formal economy by bringing those presently operating outside the tax net into the house.”
According to the Finance Minister, there were many entrepreneurs operating successful businesses, who failed to pay their fair share of taxes. He noted that this was very unfair to taxpayers under the Pay As You Earn (PAYE) system, who had no other option but to make their full contribution.
“The government recognizes and applauds entrepreneurial initiatives, but one cannot gain an unfair advantage by avoiding making a contribution to all amenities and services, which are financed by the tax dollars of others. Those operating outside of the formal system send their children to school, visit hospitals, demand that their roads are fixed and streetlights installed,” he pointed out.
Dr. Davies pointed out that the revenue centres at May Pen, Clarendon and Spanish Town, St. Catherine were far bigger contributors than those on the north coast, “which represents perhaps the greatest area of economic boom in recent years.”
This, he noted, was a clear indication of the absence of equity in taxation, a situation which the government fully intended to address.
“From the perspective of the government, we want you to prosper, to make you profitable, to make you have a good living, but you also have to make a fair contribution. It is going to be increasing difficult or impossible to do business with the government unless you are formally registered.this is not simply about revenues; this relates to equity,” he noted.

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