JIS News

Financial Secretary in the Ministry of Finance and Planning, Shirley Tyndall has emphasized the need for every tax dollar to be collected, as tax losses resulting from non-compliance had negative repercussions for the national budget.
Miss. Tyndall was speaking today at the opening of the 21st training course of the Tax Audit and Revenue Administration (TARA) Post Graduate Diploma Programme, at the Management Institute for National Development (MIND) on Old Hope Road.
The Financial Secretary said tax collection was especially important when external or domestic economic shocks occurred, such as Hurricane Ivan, and additional resources had to be found.
She noted that the passage of Hurricane Ivan, which resulted in several billions of dollars in damage, coupled with soaring crude oil prices on the international market, had heightened the fiscal constraints and “demonstrated the critical importance of increasing the flow of revenue into the government’s coffers, in order that emergency needs can be met without the debt situation being exacerbated”.
Miss Tyndall said that it was against such a background that graduates of the programme were expected to play a vital role in revenue assessment, revenue collection and general taxpayer services by contributing to the effectiveness and dynamism of the overall revenue administration system, ensuring that there was maximum compliance with the relevant laws and regulations.
She noted that students would benefit from knowledge about relevant areas, such as tax laws, audit techniques, computer systems, accounting, public finance, tax administration and taxpayer relations.
The TARA Post-Graduate Diploma course is an offshoot of the former Revenue Agents Scholarship Programme, which was established in the late 1980s and which has made great strides under the Ministry of Finance’s Tax Administration Reform Programme (TAXARP).
Miss Tyndall noted that already, there were very encouraging signs of progress under this progamme, in terms of the professionalism generally displayed by TARA graduates and more importantly, “evidence of an increase in tax collections, due to greater compliance and the widening of the tax net to ensure that registered taxpayers pay their fair share and that loopholes are plugged”.
Group 21 of the TARA Post Graduate Diploma Programme comprises 25 persons selected from a field of 98 public and 94 private sector employees, who will participate in an intensive 13-month training programme. The programme, which began in 1986, is a collaboration of the Tax Administration Services Department (TASD) and MIND. It selects and trains tertiary graduates with a degree or diploma in accounting, Management Studies, Business Administration or any other related area.
Following successful completion of the programme, graduates are appointed as Revenue Agents and assigned to any of the island’s revenue departments where their skills are needed. Government has introduced new posts called “Revenue Agents” as a centerpiece of its thrust for an improved assessment and collection system through effective tax administration.
Revenue Agents investigate the full realm of tax responsibilities of each taxpayer with whom he/she comes in contact and deals with a series of situations, including delinquency, compliance and informal checks, which are tasks which were formerly assigned to officers of various agencies.
The Revenue Agent allows for the concept of a “one call does it all” service, instead of having a number of officers representing different tax branches calling on the same taxpayer at different times. Some 420 persons have been trained under the programme since its inception.

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