The number of revenue agents serving the tax administration department has been boosted with the graduation of 44 agents from the Tax Audit and Revenue Administration (TARA) Post Graduate Diploma Programme.
The ceremony was held on November 23, 2011 at the Jamaica Pegasus hotel in New Kingston.
The revenue agents, who successfully completed a 13-month course at the Management Institute of National Development (MIND), are critical to Government’s thrust to improve the revenue assessment and collection system.
Director for Public Service Capacity Development at MIND, Ann-Marie Smith, said the 2011 graduating class brings to 574, the number of agents, who have graduated under the programme since its inception in 1986.
“The TARA programme aims to equip participants with the requisite knowledge, skills and attitudes to apply the tax laws to ensure compliance and determine tax liability, while providing information and assisting taxpayers to understand and appreciate the benefits of compliance,” she said.
Minister of Finance and Planning, Hon. Audley Shaw, who was the guest speaker at the function, charged the graduates to treat taxpaying Jamaicans with respect, and exercise a level of courage and integrity in the administration of their duties.
“(We need to) build a system where equity is not just in the policy, but equity, even more importantly, is in the quality and in the integrity of the administration of that policy. No matter what reforms we undertake, if you do not carry out and enforce that compliance with courage and with integrity, it’s all for naught,” he stated.
Deputy Commissioner, General Management Services, Tax Administration Jamaica (TAJ), Terence Frater, told the graduands that they were entering an organisation that is going through extensive reform.
He said they will be contributing to an organisation “that is a cornerstone in enabling the development of this country, an organisation that is front and centre of enabling a business-friendly climate that this country needs in order to meet its objectives and to reduce our debt burden”.
According to a factoid provided by the TAJ, the creation of the post of revenue agent is to have a “one call does it all” officer servicing the taxpayer, instead of a number of officers representing different tax branches calling on the same taxpayer at different times.
TAJ, in collaboration with MIND, selects and trains tertiary graduates with a degree or diploma in the areas of accounting, management studies, business administration or any other related discipline to participate in the post graduate programme.
On successful completion of the course, graduates are appointed as tax auditors/revenue administrators and assigned to any of the revenue departments, where their skills are most needed.
By Alecia Smith-Edwards, JIS Reporter