Revenue Strategy Being Strengthened

Photo: Donald De La Haye Minister of Finance and the Public Service, Hon. Audley Shaw.

Story Highlights

  • The Government will continue implementation of key policy, administrative and legislative reforms during the 2018/19 fiscal year, to supplement measures already instituted under its Revenue Strategy.
  • This is outlined in the Government’s 2018/19 Fiscal Policy Paper, which was tabled in the House of Representatives recently by Finance and the Public Service Minister, Hon. Audley Shaw.
  • As it relates to tax administration reform, the document indicates that initiatives previously commenced by Tax Administration Jamaica (TAJ) and Jamaica Customs Agency (JCA) to improve the tax system’s efficiency will continue.

The Government will continue implementation of key policy, administrative and legislative reforms during the 2018/19 fiscal year, to supplement measures already instituted under its Revenue Strategy.

The strategy focuses on building an efficient and equitable tax system that supports macroeconomic stability and facilitates a competitive business environment to undergird economic growth and development, thereby ensuring that the Administration’s policies and programmes are adequately financed.

This is outlined in the Government’s 2018/19 Fiscal Policy Paper, which was tabled in the House of Representatives recently by Finance and the Public Service Minister, Hon. Audley Shaw.

As it relates to tax administration reform, the document indicates that initiatives previously commenced by Tax Administration Jamaica (TAJ) and Jamaica Customs Agency (JCA) to improve the tax system’s efficiency will continue.

The Policy Paper states that TAJ’s strategic focus will centre on boosting the notable achievements recorded during fiscal year 2017/18, as efforts to satisfy taxpayers’ and stakeholders’ expectations are amplified.

To this end, several medium-term strategic objectives have been identified. These include:

• Continuously improving voluntary compliance, through continued focus on the four primary facilitatory quadrants – registration, filing, payment and accurate reporting. Initiatives to be implemented towards improving these areas include publication of the National Compliance Plan; strengthening of the legislative support; and implementing the special property tax project.

• Engendering a customer-centric organisation by continuously reviewing and redesigning TAJ’s current service offerings to improve public engagement regarding taxpayer obligations. TAJ will broaden this concept by developing and implementing a stakeholder management plan/communication matrix to further address stakeholder needs and expectations. For 2018/19, product and service channels will be strengthened by exploring additional e-strategies, such as expansion of payment options and mobile application development;

• Institutional strengthening through the TAJ’s continued forging of agreements for information sharing with third parties and institutionalising quarterly divisional expenditure management and control to ensure an effective cost of collections ratio.

In this regard, continued implementation of business processes such as the Revenue Administration Information System (RAiS) will be enhanced, while phase two of the Enterprise Content Management system (ECM) will be implemented. A most critical delivery will be the development plan that focuses on producing an infrastructure standardisation policy framework to guide work on tax offices. The TAJ will advance the centralisation of project coordination, which is expected to greatly support the five-year development plan;

• Building human capital synergies that will be supported by implementation of the findings from the employee satisfaction survey, along with strengthening of the staff performance management system; and
• Enhanced corporate governance and culture through strengthening of TAJ’s accountability and transparency mechanisms. A key strategic initiative to be implemented is a governance framework that will fully establish TAJ as a Semi-Autonomous Revenue Authority (SARA). This will be supported by implementation of the Enterprise Risk Management (ERM) framework, aimed at conducting business continuity testing.

The TAJ’s net revenue inflows at the end of December 2017 totalled $207.8 billion, which was $13 billion or 6.7 per cent above target.

This out-turn equated to collections over the first three quarters being above target by 9.4 per cent, 7.1 per cent and 8.4 per cent, respectively.

According to the Fiscal Policy Paper, tax compliance measures were developed to provide a risk-based approach to treat with taxpayer segmentation.

A total of 17 programmes were developed and implemented covering registration, filing and payment compliance, audit, and taxpayer service and education.

These strategies included a combination of interventions, such as taxpayer education and assistance, to clarify legislation or simplify overly complex administrative procedures; outreach and communication programme; audit and enforcement; as well as leveraging of third parties (tax professionals, industry associations, financial institutions, and other government agencies).

The JCA’s medium-term objectives in support of the Revenue Strategy, as also building on the agency’s achievements in 2017/18 include:
• Maximising revenue collection, and the rate of detecting illegal and prohibited goods;
• Ensuring efficient and effective use of resources;
• Improving voluntary compliance through ongoing public education and by initiating discussions with stakeholder groups/traders;
• Improving planning and research within the Agency;
• Facilitating efficient processing of legitimate goods and services; and
• Automating and strengthening information management, information and communications technology, and financial management systems.

Net fiscal year revenue inflows at the JCA totalled $157.4 billion at the end of December 2017. This was $16.1 billion or 11.1 per cent over the corresponding period in the 2016/17 fiscal year.

About 92 per cent of this out-turn was generated from taxes, which grew by $15 billion or 11.5 per cent over the previous year.

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