JIS News

Government collected approximately $4.2 billion in revenue for the financial year 2003/2004 and registered some 4,114 new taxpayers, said Senator Deika Morrison, Minister of State in the Ministry of Finance and Planning.
She credited the achievement to the significant changes and developments in Jamaica’s tax administration landscape since the commencement of the tax reform process in 1994.
“There has been, and continues to be, a process of monumental change; change that has been informed by dialogue with stakeholders and taxpayers,” Senator Morrison asserted, while addressing the Tax Services Exposition held at the Management Institute for National Development (MIND) in Kingston on May 5.
Some of these improvements undertaken include increased computerisation of many of the taxation systems, staff training, extensive reclassifications in keeping with organisational restructuring, and improvements to the legal and regulatory framework to address the challenges inherent in a liberalised economy.
“We have implemented the Integrated Computerised Tax Administration System (ICTAS), now 85 per cent complete, which has revolutionised the speed and accuracy of transactions, and significantly reduced the bureaucracy of trade transactions,” the Senator outlined.
These changes, Senator Morrison said, have altogether improved tax collections in the past year and should go a long way to achieving significant growth in revenue from year to year by “reducing tax evasion, rooting out corruption, promoting transparency, encouraging voluntary compliance, strengthening surveillance, border control and protection, enhancing commercial trade and promoting investment.”
On the issue of tax collections, Senator Morrison acknowledged the public’s concern about persons that were flouting the tax system, and assured that government had intensified efforts to bring them into the tax net.
According to Senator Morrison, “without an effective and efficient tax administration system, the ability of tax policy to achieve the primary intended goal of raising revenues in an equitable manner is severely limited.”
“There is a comprehensive tax policy that is taking place, precisely because the system had gotten so complicated with all the incentives and different types of taxes that we have, and we are looking into all aspects of taxation and that will be finished by the end of this calendar year,” she informed.
Senator Morrison appealed to Jamaicans to work with the Government to chart a successful course for Jamaica’s future. “This tax administration system does not belong to the government; it belongs to the people who have paid for it, the people who continue to pay for it and the people who will benefit from the gains in revenues, trade and investment as a result of increased efficiency, effectiveness and equity…those people are all of us,” she stressed.
Meanwhile, Director-General of Tax Administration, Clive Nicholas said there have been improvements to the physical infrastructure of the revenue collection centres and the modernization of services, which has made the process of paying taxes easier.
“If you look at the tax offices, which we have today.they are the tax centres of the future. In addition, the Customs Department is a much more modernised department and people are now able to file C78 returns and pay taxes electronically, and can also submit import entries before their goods arrive,”Mr. Nicholas told JIS News.
He also pointed to the implementation of the one-stop Tax Compliance Certificate (TCC). “For a very long time the business community has been crying out for this as a much easier method of obtaining a TCC and we now have a system whereby you go to one location and get everything done instead of running around from place to place,” added Senator Morrison.
Mr. Nicholas also sought to allay the fears of the taxpaying-public that there are persons slipping through the cracks. “The fact that we are now very highly computerised means that now we have a lot of information, and information is key to Tax Administration,” he pointed out.

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