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#BudgetDebate2018: 15,106 new taxpayers registered

Thursday, March 08, 2018

KINGSTON, Jamaica (JIS) — Minister of Finance and the Public Service Audley Shaw has announced that 15,106 new taxpayers were registered during the period April to December 2017, due to a compliance drive conducted by Tax Administration Jamaica (TAJ).

Shaw said the Tax Reform Working Group, which began under his leadership, should be praised for this number of new registered taxpayers.

The minister was opening the 2018/19 Budget Debate in the House of Representatives, today under the theme 'Stability, Growth and Prosperity – Our Goal, Our Responsibility'.

Shaw pointed out that he commissioned the new Tax Reform Working Group, comprising representatives from major private-sector organisations and key ministries, with the mandate to review and recommend tax policy reforms for both Customs and Tax Administration Jamaica, with a particular focus on tax compliance.

He said that for the new fiscal year, the TAJ will be focusing on assisting persons who are unable to pay their taxes on time.

“We are also aware of the difficulties and bureaucracy associated with paying taxes. As such, Tax Administration Jamaica has developed flexitime with staff to implement a policy of opening the most heavily trafficked offices earlier. In addition, the TAJ is in advanced stages of introducing an automated queuing system in its offices that will involve tracking of service demand and provide real-time information to allow for improved queue management,” Shaw said.

He added that some other initiatives will include introducing an online banking option to make payments, integrating the National Identification System (NIDS) into the TAJ when it comes on stream, and producing interest withholding tax certificates online to facilitate easier refunds processing for pension contributions.

“We also plan to implement scanners with advanced technology in Customs at our various ports of entry to reduce revenue leakage and also to increase the protection of our borders,” he said.

The minister told the House that tax arrears now stand at approximately $234 billion, inclusive of interest and penalties. Property tax arrears are also estimated at almost $14 billion.