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Director General in the Ministry of Finance and Planning, Diane McIntosh, is advising Tax Auditors/Revenue Administrators not to allow themselves to be corrupted by persons trying to evade the tax system.

“I want to impress upon you not to let yourself be deceived and facilitate them. Corruption in the tax system is counter-productive to the objective of collecting the required revenues to improve economic development and social services,” Ms. McIntosh said.

She was addressing participants in the official opening and orientation session of the Tax Audit and Revenue Administration (TARA) Post Graduate Diploma programme on Monday, June 10, at the Management Institute for National Development (MIND), St. Andrew.

Ms. McIntosh reminded the trainees that in embarking on the course, they are making a stronger commitment and pledge to conduct the business on behalf of the Government with honesty and integrity.

“I am extremely pleased that the course has values by which the professionals should operate such as honesty and integrity…the area you will be trained in will lend itself to corruption. Wherever money is involved, the possibility exists and when persons are desperate to evade the system, they seek agents inside the system in order to corrupt and break it down to their own benefit,” she said.

Ms. McIntosh told the trainee auditors and administrators that their role is important in improving the country’s fiscal outcomes, through, among other things, increased revenue collection.

“You have entered this programme at a very critical juncture in the life of the country as we attempt to improve revenues through the building of a positive tax-paying culture. This will be a difficult task but we have to find new strategies to achieve this,” she said.

She lamented that at present, Jamaicans do not have a good track record for paying taxes owed to the country, noting that one of the complaints is that the system is not conducive to paying taxes.

“The training takes you through well thought out modules, guaranteed to equip you to execute the ‘one call does it all’ concept where the quality of interaction will be enhanced and the exposure to several persons in the tax system minimised. So it is hoped that this will lead to higher levels of tax compliance,” she said.

Ms. McIntosh reminded the participants that even though the goal is to collect revenues “please be reminded that the customer should be your focus. A good customer service experience delivered will help to pave the road for increased voluntary compliance and it is something that we all have to keep working at.”

“At the end of the course, you will become certified tax auditors and revenue agents on a progressive tax team working towards strengthening customer service mechanisms through consultative and collaborative relationships,” she added.

Twenty-nine persons are participating in the 13-month programme, which has over 50 theoretical and practical courses, which allows graduates to sharpen their skills and increase their knowledge base. It will also aid them in becoming more equipped and better able to improve assessments and enhance the collection system.

Tax Administration Jamaica in collaboration with the MIND selects and trains tertiary graduates with a degree or diploma in Accounting, Management Studies, Business Administration or any other related discipline.

On successful completion of the course, graduates are appointed as Tax Auditors/Revenue Administrators and assigned to any operational unit within the TAJ where their skills are most needed.

Contact: Alecia Smith-Edwards