Business

Tax authority makes public list of deliquent persons, companies

Friday, July 18, 2014    

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THE Tax Administration Jamaica (TAJ) this week published a list of 'tax dodgers' brought before the St James courts with $458 million in outstanding taxes.

The current deliquent taxpayers were brought before the St James courts between April and May this year.

"The court action normally works. You may not get all of it one time but...the court might give them six months over which to make the payment," said Meris Haughton communications officer at the TAJ in a Jamaica Observer interview on Wednesday.

The publication of tax dodgers is part of a compliance drive that aids the TAJ in meeting its revenue targets. TAJ through its network of compliance officers islandwide will intensify enforcement activities in the coming months. For instance, Haughton expects to publish another list of tax dodgers next month.

"We will be publishing another list of delinquent persons in other revenue centres in the coming months," she said.

The list on Wednesday included over 170 small-and medium-sized businesses. The arrears included PAYE, company income tax, education tax, and general consumption tax and property tax.

"The delinquency runs the spectrum -- persons who are big, persons who are small. Sometimes when activity happens, particularly the big businesses come forward and make amends because they do not want on the next occasion for their names to come forward," she explained.

Over 12 months ending March 2014 nearly 2,900 summonses were served, valued at $4.96 billion.

The TAJ will embark on payroll audits this fiscal year to catch companies that are short on statutory payments. It follows risk assessments conducted by the TAJ which showed that employers have been deducting the monthly amounts, but not paying them over to the National Housing Trust on time.

The TAJ will also collaborate with third party entities to get information on tax dodgers. Under the Revenue Administration (Amendment) Act 2013, companies will be able to share information about their contractors with the TAJ. Companies will upon request provide the TAJ with an annual report of persons they have contracted to provide services. This in order to widen the tax base of informal contractors.

The TAJ outside of enforcement conducts a series of free seminars islandwide.

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