JIS News

Commissioner of the Inland Revenue Department (IRD), Norma Kerr-Clarke, is encouraging self-employed persons and companies to meet the March 15 deadline for filing income tax returns.
She was speaking at the weekly JIS Think Tank, held recently at the agency’s headquarters on Half- Way-Tree Road.
“The deadline is March 15. Failure to do so can attract a penalty of up to $10,000 for each return not filed,” she advised, noting that the deadline would not be extended. “We are seeking to have the taxpayer comply with the tax regulations and so we are asking that the taxpayer volunteer to make [his/her] returns,” she noted. The Commissioner informed that taxpayers may file returns at any of the 28 collectorates islandwide or make deposits in the drop-off box at the Constant Spring Revenue Centre and the King Street Collectorate. “If payments are being made with cheques, then the cheques can be attached to those returns. However, if it’s cash, the cash should be paid in to a cashier,” she noted.
The returns, which are to be filed on or before March 15, are not only for the year 2004, but also the estimated tax returns for 2005, as well as the first quarterly payment.
For the estimated tax, the quarterly payments are to be made on March 15, June 15, September 15 and December 15.
Regarding non-compliance, the Commissioner warned that if persons were taken to court and they still did not file under the Income Tax Act, they “could be made to pay a small amount on a daily basis until that return is filed.”
To facilitate taxpayers, Mrs. Kerr-Clarke informed that the opening hours of collectorates would be extended during March, adding that presently, there was an islandwide effort to assist taxpayers to file their annual returns through the Special Taxpayer Assistance Programme. “We have Taxpayer Service Officers who are meeting at court houses, town halls. parish libraries, and at the collectorates, to assist taxpayers in completing the returns. You can also call us at the 1-888-TAXHELP number for any clarification,” she noted.
She further added that the IRD has been seeking to simplify the process of filing income tax returns for small taxpayers. “If your gross revenue is under$1 million, then you can file without financial statements. You can file with an income and expenditure statement instead of going through auditors to get your financial statements,” she pointed out.
Turning to the issue of tax exemptions, the Commissioner noted that persons, who are involved in prescribed agricultural businesses, would not be required to pay income tax on those profits. This includes persons in the dairy industry, beekeeping, fish farming, horticulture and the production of table eggs.
She however pointed out, that if these persons were involved in other ventures, they must file returns on the profits of those other businesses, stressing that the exemption only applied to the agricultural areas that were prescribed.
Speaking of the public education campaign last year, the Commissioner noted that the IRD’s encouragement of the public to adhere to tax compliance was a success. Taxpayers, she noted, responded positively, with over 10,000 persons filing returns in the March to early April period.

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