Appeals to the Revenue Appeals Division (RAD) in the Ministry of Finance and the Public Service have trended down, says the Commissioner of Revenue Appeals, Dr. Deloree Staple-Chambers.
“The is because of some interventions that we made at the time when we were reforming. This included an intervention with Tax Administration Jamaica (TAJ) to ensure that they ramp up the management of the objection process, because what we found is that we were becoming inundated with a lot of cases which really didn’t belong at appeal,” she said, at a recent JIS ‘Think Tank’.
“So, we were getting in those years like 120 or 130 cases a year. Now we are down to between 60 and 70 a year,” said the Commissioner.
The RAD came into existence in 2015 and replaced its predecessor, the Tax Appeals Department. Since its inception, the Division has been working to improve service delivery and the efficiency of the appeals process.
“These [appeals] now represent true disputes where the issues are really the interpretation in law or the collation of facts to determine the tax liability. Also, for the assessments that are now before us, the value in tax is much higher.
Before, we used to get a lot of cases where the value in tax was around two hundred and odd thousand dollars, now we are in the tens of millions. That is why even though we have reduced the case inventory from 466 at the beginning of 2017 to 68 in March 2020, the tax value is still very high,” Dr. Staple-Chambers noted.
The value of taxes appealed over the last three years has been $1.17 billion in 2017/18, $1.91 billion in 2018/19 and $859.89 million in 2019/20.
The Commissioner explained that Income Tax and General Consumption Tax (GCT) made up the lion share of tax appeals that were heard by the Division.
Over the three-year period 2017/2020, Income Tax and GCT combined accounted for 92 per cent; 89 per cent; and 75 per cent, respectively, of all the appeals received. The remaining tax appeal types included land valuation, withholding tax, transfer tax or stamp duty, guest accommodation room tax; education tax and Pay As You Earn (PAYE), and Customs tax.