JIS News

The Management Institute for National Development (MIND) yesterday (November 1), commenced the 21st training course of its Tax Audit and Revenue Administration (TARA) Post Graduate Diploma Programme.
Speaking at the opening of the course, at MIND on Old Hope Road, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Institute, Maria Jones highlighted the critical importance of the TARA programme in Jamaica’s national development.
“TARA is an important pillar in government’s programme to systematically change, improve and modernize the country’s tax collection mechanism and resources,” she said.
Mrs. Jones said MIND’s pride in TARA stemmed from the fact that it was, among other things, the Institute’s longest running collaboration.
“Indeed, the TARA course is a classic example of effective government to government co-operation. Specifically, MIND, working with the Ministry of Finance and Planning, through the Tax Administration Services Department (TASD), has proficiently and professionally planned and administered this training programme through 20 previous deliveries,” she added.
The CEO further noted that TARA was MIND’s first accredited programme, having been certified by the University Council of Jamaica (UCJ) at the Post Graduate Diploma level in March 1998. She said that this certification had undoubtedly helped to position MIND as a serious tertiary level training institution, and “inspired us to present other major courses for accreditation by the UCJ”.
Mrs. Jones added that MIND was proud of TARA, “because we see this programme as one of the best demonstrations of MIND’s mandate. Obviously, MIND exists to contribute to the on-going development of public sector managers,” she said.
In his address, Director General of Tax Administration, Clive Nicholas told the new students that the programme was “very dear to us within the revenue service and the Ministry of Finance”, as over the years, the revenue service had benefited from the skills of graduates of the programme.
“You are coming into the revenue service at a time when things are very challenging and very interesting. This programme is very highly respected. Many employers are very eager to get persons to work with them who are graduates of this programme,” he said.
Group 21 of the TARA Post Graduate Diploma Programme, which comprises 25 persons selected from a field of 98 public and 94 private sector employees, will participate in an intensive 13-month training programme. The programme, which began in 1986, is a collaboration of TASD and MIND. It selects and trains tertiary graduates with a degree or diploma in Accounting, Management Studies, Business Administration or any other related field.
On 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 centrepiece of its thrust for an improved assessment and collection system through affective 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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