JIS News

Acting Commissioner of the Inland Revenue Department (IRD), Viralee Lattibeaudiere, has credited the recently instituted tax amnesty for the over-performance of tax collectorates so far this year.
One of five departments of tax administration with the primary role of collecting, enforcing compliance and providing taxpayer services, the IRD operates a tax amnesty covering the period April 10 to October 31. During that period, taxpayers can pay arrears built up to April 10, 2008. Arrears accumulated after April 10 is not included in the amnesty.
Based on the amnesty, the payment of such arrears is subject to 100 per cent waiver of penalties if paid by July 31; 50 per cent waiver by August 31; 40 per cent by September 30; and 20 per cent if paid by October 31.
Having set a collection target of over $176 billion of primary taxes for the fiscal year 2008/09, and $43 billion for the three months to June, the 29 tax collectorates of the IRD exceeded the first quarter target by more than $1 billion.
“This of course is very much due to the tax amnesty, because for June alone, the increase in collection was some 39 per cent over the previous year and we were able to make that target. This is the second highest target ever set by the Ministry of Finance for any one particular month,” she said.
Speaking at a JIS Think Tank yesterday (July 22), Mrs. Lattibeaudiere said the June collection target was also overshot, albeit slightly.
“We met the June collection target by 100.02 per cent. For that month we collected $18.071 billion net of refunds of $1.7 billion,” she added, noting that the actual collection in June was $5 billion or 39 per cent more than the corresponding period last year. “That was the target and it was met,” she stressed.
In addition to collecting primary taxes, the IRD collects taxes on behalf of a number of agencies. One such tax, property tax, showed an increase during the tax amnesty, yielding $2.7 million from April to June. This represents some 40 per cent over last year’s collections for the corresponding period.
For the other taxes, such as trade licences and motor vehicle fees, whilst these are not subject to target setting, the institutions responsible used past experience to determine how much of these taxes are to be collected.
“The Kingston and St. Andrew Corporation (KSAC) and local bodies for example, know how much trade licence they ought to collect based on past trends, so they could identify that for trade and business licences, the compliance rate was only 10 per cent in Kingston and
St. Andrew. So it is their taxes and they have the responsibility to ensure that we are collecting them and collecting them efficiently,” Mrs. Lattibeaudiere said.
The IRD has 28 collectorates and come next Monday, July 28, one more is to be opened in Portmore, St. Catherine. The IRD’s online payment facility can be accessed at
“The virtual collectorate is now showing greater usage by tax-payers, moving to 7th place in terms of the amount of GCT collected,” she pointed out. The taxes that can be paid online are General Consumption Tax (GCT), Special Consumption Tax (SCT), traffic fines, hotel licence fee, and betting taxes.