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JIS News

The Tax Administration Services Department (TASD), is to establish a Third Party Payment Facility by March 31, as the Department continues to seek new ways of making it easier for persons to pay their taxes.
This disclosure was made by Director of Public Relations, Meris Haughton, in an interview with JIS News yesterday (September 25).
“In order to make it easier to pay, what we have been examining and we wish to put in place by the end of this financial year, is what we call a Third Party Payment Facility, whereby persons can go to one of the existing bill-payment facilities to make their tax payment, rather than having to interface with the tax office,” she stated, explaining that “the same way you can go there and pay your electricity or water bill, you will be able to pay your taxes there.”
Noting that the establishment of the Third Party Payment Facility is at an advanced stage, she estimated that the arrangement could be in place by the end of this financial year, “but we can’t say yet, which of them we will sign the contract with initially.” Bill Express and Paymaster are the leading bill-payment facilities in Jamaica.
This latest payment method will join a number of others, which the TASD has made available to the public over the last few years.
Citing online payment among the other facilities, Miss Haughton informed that “we have seen increased usage primarily by persons who are making payments for General Consumption Tax (GCT) and in particular, property tax over the last two years,”
“Persons are using this option because it is very convenient as it can be done from the comfort of their homes or offices, so they don’t have to come to the tax office in order to make these payments. It is also available for payment of traffic tickets. Persons just need to go to our website or online payment facility at www.jamaicatax.gov.jm and there is a quick five-step process to make the payment,” she pointed out.
“Our online payment facility or virtual collectorate as we call it, is the 30th collectorate and when we rank them, we find that the online payment system is in our top 15, in terms of number of persons using the facility and in particular, the total value of the payments,” she said, noting that “tax payers can use it at any time as it’s a 24-hour service and they can do it from anywhere.”
The TASD has also installed what it calls ‘electronic drop boxes’ at six of its major offices to make it easier for persons making payments by cheque, thereby enabling them to bypass the line and save time. “There is a drop box envelope that is made available for persons to put in their cheques or their tax returns and they will get a verification notice that they have made the drop,” she explained.
In addition, the TASD has partnered with the Swallowfield Island Traffic Authority, to make it easier for persons who are having their vehicles examined.
“We have a system in place at the Swallowfield Depot, where persons who are using credit or debit cards can pay for the certificate of fitness and do not have to go to a tax office, so it’s a one stop facility for persons who are not using cash,” Miss Haughton informed.
“The underlying purpose of these payment methods is to improve our service. We periodically do surveys and one of the things that persons have been saying over the years is that it’s not that they don’t want to pay, but if it is made easier for them they would pay, given the traffic situation on the roads and the long queues in the tax offices, particularly at month end, so when persons have an option of not interfacing with the tax office, then it makes it easier for them to be compliant,” she explained.
For the future, Miss Haughton said “we will continue to improve our service to customers; customer service is where we are focussing and in terms of training, we are putting a lot of emphasis on our frontline staff to improve the services they offer to the public.”