Bill-payment kiosks for tax offices

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

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Dear Editor,

On a daily basis scores of law-abiding Jamaican citizens converge at various tax administration offices islandwide to conduct various business transactions. It is appalling, to put it mildly, that this is easily the most frustrating and time-taking process for any taxpayer.

Considering the current level of technology available, especially in bill payment methods in Jamaica, we should not have to be subjected to this long suffering at every visit.

I visited a collectorate recently in Western Jamaica to apply for motor vehicle registration documents. I quickly realised from observation that, like myself, the majority of other taxpayers were waiting in the main cashier lines to either renew an expired vehicle road licence or fitness, apply for new documents and plates, etc. The process seemingly took just over four hours to complete, despite completing the online application prior to getting to the tax office.

I have noticed the introduction of bill-payment kiosk machines at the stores companies of service provider Flow that has eased bill payment options for its customers. Also some financial institutions have introduced the technology to accept credit card payments, loan repayments and have facilitated bill payment platforms for other private companies at a fee. The capacity of the kiosks allows for easy user interface with customers and is a much quicker processing time as opposed to the former process of waiting in line.

The fact of the matter is the Tax Administration of Jamaica (TAJ) has a database of all documentation involving taxpayers, especially road users using their Tax Registration Number (TRN).

Suggested systematic steps using kiosks would involve:

1. Taxpayer selects transaction (eg motor vehicle licensing, motor vehicle fitness)

2. Taxpayer enters details particular to transaction (eg TRN, desired renewal period, method of payment, etc)

3. Transaction completed: kiosk machine prints receipt/tracking number or new registration document.

4. Taxpayer verifies transaction with TAJ officer who stamps approval or signs. Process complete.

While we recognise and commend the use of the online platform, I believe taxpayers would feel more drawn to use technology when they see others benefiting within the same physical space.

It is the opinion of myself and other taxpayers that this might just be an amicable solution to the lengthy lines and may even increase revenue collection for the Government.

Russell St Nicholas Barrett

Youth Advisory Council of Jamaica

russell.stnic@yahoo.com


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