A Bill seeking to establish a unified domestic tax administration under an entity to be known as Tax Administration Jamaica was approved in the House of Representatives on Tuesday March 29.
Prime Minister, the Hon. Bruce Golding, who piloted the Revenue Administration (Amendment) Act 2011 through the Lower House, informed that this Bill will strengthen the country’s capacity and improve on the level of efficiency in collecting taxes.
“Lots of people in Jamaica complain that the tax in Jamaica is too high, and a major part of the reason why the taxes are so high is because the number of persons, who are not paying taxes, is also so high. For every dollar of taxes that we don’t collect it means that, that is one more dollar of taxes that we have to put on to people from whom we can collect,” Mr. Golding said.
The amendments to the Bill, which were approved, will repeal and replace current provisions that establish the Inland Revenue, Tax Administration Services and Taxpayer Audit and Assessment Departments and establish the post of a Commissioner General as well as three Deputy Commissioners General.
“They will have specific areas of responsibility – management services, operations and legal services. There are some entities that will remain as departments under the Revenue Administration Act reporting to the Financial Secretary; that’s the Customs Department, which deal with border taxes,” the Prime Minister explained.
Opposition Spokesperson on Finance, Dr. Omar Davies, in supporting the Bill, said it was in keeping with the need for continued improvements in the tax structure.
Meanwhile, Mr. Golding said for the 2009/10 financial year a total of $168 million in arrears were collected by the tax department.
“For April to December of 2010, we have more than doubled that figure (as) $356 million were collected,” the Prime Minister informed.
The Revenue Administration (Amendment) Act 2011 will be sent to the Senate for its approval.
By LATONYA LINTON, JIS Reporter