KINGSTON — Finance Minister, Hon. Audley Shaw, says efforts by the Ministry, Jamaica Customs, and Tax Administration, will be intensified in coming months, in response to the persistent problem of under-invoicing and other nefarious means used by some importers to defraud the treasury of billions of dollars.
Addressing a Customs Seminar convened by the Jamaica Chamber of Commerce at the Wyndham Hotel in Kingston, on September 29, the Minister pointed out that the perception that tax avoidance and tax evasion were pervasive, was “confirmed by recent findings of a technical team of the International Monetary Fund (IMF)."
The Minister further noted that, according to the report, “if the Government was able to collect all the money lost through tax evasion, the country would not have a fiscal deficit."
Mr. Shaw said the IMF report will be used as a benchmark to speed up the reform of tax administration and strengthen efforts to prevent the billions of dollars in revenue that have been lost to the country. He said the findings of report will be made public in due course.
Meanwhile, the Minister informed that as new measures kick in and boost revenue inflows, tax rates for Jamaicans would be reduced.
The new measures, to be implemented by Jamaica Customs, and Tax Administration Jamaica, will involve the utilisation of appropriate technology, including increased use of forensic science, to detect tax evaders.
By Allan Brooks, JIS Senior Reporter