The Government continues to make it easier for persons to do business in Jamaica with the recent introduction of a ‘One Stop’ process for customers to get a Tax Compliance Certificate (TCC).
The TCC, which is processed by Tax Administration Jamaica (TAJ), is an important document issued to an individual or company as proof that they are tax compliant and their payments of tax liabilities and wage-related statutory deductions are up to date.
Acting Director, Tax Policy Development in the Ministry of Finance and the Public Service, Madge Ramsay, tells JIS News that the ‘One Stop’ process has been facilitated by an amalgamation of payroll deductions from HEART/NSTA Trust, National Housing Trust (NHT), National Insurance Scheme (NIS) and the Education Tax.
Previously, companies and self-employed persons were required to go to the four entities to file their returns and make payments. But this is now done through the TAJ where the information is available in a database. The TAJ is now able to complete the process within two to three days.
The move is being driven by the increased use of technology within Ministries, Departments and Agencies of Government to improve efficiency and service delivery.
The TAJ, which is a revenue authority under the Ministry of Finance and the Public Service, is among the many entities seeking to simplify its services.
Ms. Ramsay says the Ministry has been providing guidance on improving the TCC process. “We have other phases of that process to go on that would help to improve our taxing regime… and it should be beneficial to the taxpayers,” she notes.
She explains that the plan is to move further on improving compliance across the entities that are currently providing for statutory deductions. She is also hopeful that the turn- around time for the TCC will be further reduced to 24 hours.
The ‘One Stop’ process is designed to benefit customers by reducing travelling cost, lowering stress and anxiety levels, and shortening the time spent in obtaining a TCC. It also encourages customers to keep their payments up to date.
The Acting Director says that there are benefits to be derived from the Government when you have a TCC. Once compliant, service providers are able to apply for government contracts. Private sector entities and banks may also request it before doing business.
“We want to ensure that persons who are receiving benefits are properly certified,” she adds.
With the country now dealing with the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, the TAJ has relaxed the measures for applying for a TCC until June 30. This means that businesses that may fall into non-compliance will be facilitated through the issuing of a one-off or single-use TCC reflecting an expiry date of June 30.
“We recognise that persons would be having challenges and we have relaxed our enforcement action during the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic,” Chief Corporate Communications Officer at the TAJ, Meris Haughton, tells JIS News during an interview.
Ms. Haughton advises that no new summonses will be issued and there will be no court proceedings or enforcement action for non-compliance until after June 30. However, reminders and notices will be generated.
She is also encouraging persons to apply for the TCC online, noting that “we are trying to limit the number of persons who actually come to our physical spaces.”
Miss Haughton says once the request for a TCC is processed, the system will automatically generate a letter which serves as a notification that the TCC has been granted. The notification includes the TCC’s number.
She is reminding persons not to wait until their TCC expires to apply for a new one, and is encouraging the public to apply “at least seven business days in advance.”
Plans are also in place to have an automatic TCC renewal process.
TCCs are required for several transactions in Jamaica, especially by importers who need to submit on import entry to clear goods through customs. They are also needed by applicants for citizenship or work permit and contractors applying for a contract from the Government.
A guide on how to submit a TCC application is available on the TAJ’s website: www.jamaicatax.gov.jm