KINGSTON — The Senate, on Friday April 1, passed the Revenue Administration (Amendment) Act, 2011, paving the way for the Government to unify the system of tax administration through the establishment of Tax Administration Jamaica.
The Bill, which was piloted by Senator Arthur Williams,also provides for the creation of the posts of commissioner general and at least three deputy commissioners. The commissioner general, he explained, will be vested with wide powers to administer Tax Administration Jamaica, all domestic tax and related non-tax laws, and to supervise the staff of the TAJ.
The commissioner will also have power to delegate to the three deputies, the portfolio responsibilities of operations, management services, and legal support services.
“These areas will absorb the functions now being performed by the Commissioners of the Inland Revenue Department, the Tax Administration Services Department and the Taxpayer Audit and Assessment Department,” Mr. Williams said, noting that the provisions establishing these departments will be repealed.
He said that the functions of the Tax Policy Division of the Ministry of Finance and the Public Service, which formulates policy, will not be affected by the Bill.
He said that the remaining Revenue Departments – Customs, Revenue Protection Division (RPD) and the Taxpayer Appeals Department – will not come under the ambit of the TAJ. They will remain as departments under the Revenue Administration Act, but will operate under the supervision and direction of the Financial Secretary. Separate legislative arrangements will eventually be made regarding those entities.
Senator Williams told the Senate that Cabinet took the decision to effect the changes based on several studies and recommendations that have been made over the years, and in particular, recommendations made by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in a 2007 report entitled: ‘Review and Proposed Strategy for Tax and Customs Administration Reforms, and a 2008 report entitled ‘Modernising Tax and Customs Administration – Updating the Strategy and Advancing Reforms’.
By ALECIA SMITH, JIS Reporter