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A Bill to establish Tax Administration Jamaica (TAJ), as a semi-autonomous revenue authority, was passed on Tuesday, March 19, in the House of Representatives.

The Tax Administration Jamaica Act 2013 was piloted by Minister of Finance and Planning, Dr. the Hon. Peter Phillips.

Dr. Phillips noted that TAJ will be responsible for registration, taxpayer services, audit, investigations, assessments, collection, enforcement legal representation and various support services now being carried out in respect of domestic taxes.

“What this legislation does is to establish a new governance machine that gives greater autonomy to revenue administration and establishes a governance regime, which will allow for greater autonomy in respect to their ability to manage their own budget, and deploy their own human resources,” he stated.

He explained that this module of a semi-autonomous revenue authority operates in various developed and developing countries.

According to Minister Phillips, the passage of this legislation is one of the structural benchmarks in the programme with the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

“Irrespective of that fact, it is something that we need to do in order to enhance our capacity to collect the taxes, which are due and to enable the tax reform process to be given a good administrative foundation and indeed, this should be considered to be a part of the tax reform agenda,” he stated.

The Bill provides for the establishment of a board that will be responsible for overseeing the general administration of the authority; and a Commissioner General, who will be responsible for its day-to-day operation.

For his part, Opposition Spokesperson on Finance, Audley Shaw noted that “the whole question of the rationalisation of the tax system, the whole question of the need for increased efficiency in tax administration all of these we have nothing against.”

The Bill will be sent to the Senate for its approval.

By Latonya Linton, JIS Reporter