Aggrieved taxpayers are being advised to contact the Revenue Appeals Division (RAD) to appeal decisions made by the Revenue Commissioners.
“For those taxpayers who have in your possession a decision that you are not in agreement with and you are aggrieved, you can appeal to the Revenue Appeals Division,” said Senior Legal Officer in the Division, Monique Nelson.
“Decisions that can be appealed relate to the full gamut of taxes, including income tax, general consumption tax, customs valuations and decisions, land valuations, guest accommodation room tax, etc.,” she added at a JIS Think Tank on July 21.
To start the appeals process, taxpayers should download and complete the Notice of Appeal form on the Ministry’s website and email it to email@example.com, or deliver it to the RAD at the Office Centre Building, 12 Ocean Boulevard, Kingston.
RAD, which falls under the Ministry of Finance and the Public Service, was established as an independent appellate to hear the appeals of taxpayers against decisions of the revenue authorities.
It is the successor of the Taxpayer Appeals Department, which was under the direction of the Director General of Tax Administration and, as such, did not have a clear separation of its appeals and assessment processes.
“Despite the fact that we come under the administrative directorate of the Ministry of Finance, the Commissioner (of Revenue Appeals) only has a reporting function to the Financial Secretary of the Ministry. The Financial Secretary or other Ministry personnel cannot influence the decisions that the Revenue Appeals Division makes and only the (Revenue) Court can overturn our decisions,” Mrs. Nelson pointed out.
She said that all matters before the RAD are “dealt with fairly, transparently, judiciously and without bias”.
She noted that the Revenue Appeals Division Act, 2015 allows for the Division to work more efficiently to make determination on appeals, and as such, the Commissioner of Revenue Appeals is no longer required to have formal hearings for matters that can be settled otherwise.
“The Commissioner can consider cases by having an informal hearing and based on the written evidence submitted. She can also determine the matter by facilitating an agreed settlement between the parties – that is the taxpayer and the relevant revenue commissioner. A good number of our cases have been completed via the settlement route, which results in a win-win for both parties,” Mrs. Nelson said.
For her part, Commissioner of Revenue Appeals, Dr. Deloree Staple-Chambers, noted that to ensure a balanced and transparent procedure, both parties hear and see the presentation of evidence and are able to ask questions about the information exchanged during hearings.
The Commissioner pointed out that the RAD is the second tier of the revenue appeals mechanism. Taxpayers must first raise an objection with the relevant revenue authority.