Joint IRD/KSAC Tax Compliance Drive Nets Increase in Revenue


Revenue from trade licenses has increased by $22 million for May to July, under a joint compliance drive of the Kingston and St. Andrew Corporation (KSAC) and the Inland Revenue Department (IRD).
Making the disclosure at a joint press briefing with the KSAC, held at the Corporation’s Church Street offices on Monday (Aug. 4), Commissioner of Inland Revenue, Viralee Lattibeaudiere said for the first three months of the operation, $38 million was collected for trade licenses overall, while for the corresponding period last year, only $15 million was collected for the entire island. Only $3 million of this total was collected by the KSAC for the entire year. This year, $15 million of the total, was collected by the KSAC, between May and July.
“So the KSAC and the other Parish Councils benefited from this joint effort between the KSAC and the IRD,” Mrs. Lattibeaudiere told journalists. The KSAC/IRD operation, which started on May 5, aims to increase compliance; identify business persons trading without the requisite license; and educate prospective business operators and the public on matters of trade license and property tax.
“In recent times, the local government has become self-reliant, in that the significant sources of their revenue, comes from trade licenses and property tax. The level of compliance for trade licenses up to May 5, was just 10 per cent. Together, we are working assiduously with the Council to increase this level of compliance,” the IRD Commissioner assured.
She informed that some 253 assessments have been issued in Kingston and St. Andrew (KSA) with 713 businesses visited over the May to July period.
“We have suspended the operation because of (the tax) amnesty, but we will continue as of the 11th August, until August 31 in KSA. After which we will move that same team to Portmore, to drive the compliance there, because we have now opened a new facility in Portmore,” she explained.
Mrs. Lattibeaudiere said a team will also be dispatched to Port Maria to carry out the drive there, and would return to Kingston and St. Andrew in November, to complete its task.
Meanwhile, the IRD Commissioner implored the public to take advantage of the ongoing tax amnesty, and to pay up arrears. “We have outstanding over $6.3 billion in property tax arrears throughout the island, with Kingston and St. Andrew having $1.2 billion in arrears. The IRD will be pulling out all stops to get compliance in this and all other tax drives,” she stated.
Mrs. Lattibeaudiere disclosed that persons would be recruited for training as bailiffs and that space would be rented to store goods that would be seized where necessary. She said the relevant legislation, which allowed for the sale of property for taxes, would also be widened. “This is how serious we are going to get. I urge individuals to heed the Minister’s call to pay up arrears. It will not be business as usual,” she warned.
In his remarks, Mayor of Kingston, Senator Desmond McKenzie said, “When we started the drive as it relates to trade licenses, we thought that we were just running down a few traders. What I did not know was that I was opening a can of worms. What we have seen so far, since we started the drive, is a very frightening but also encouraging sign.”
He pointed out that the increase in collections proved that “persons are aware of their responsibilities, but people need somebody to push them to get this thing done. We are happy with this multi-agency approach.”

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