Letters to the Editor

Tax collection needs to be improved

Friday, February 21, 2014    

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Dear Editor,

I am sure that all well-thinking overtaxed Jamaicans agree that the Government needs to more effectively collect taxes that are owed, especially collecting taxes from the numerous tax evaders.

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) in the USA is very effective in collecting Uncle Sam's taxes. Therefore, as a friend of the USA, the Jamaican Government should approach the US Government and ask for help in setting up systems to more effectively collect taxes from a wider range of persons. Jamaicans have suffered hardships for too long for the Government to not seek outside help on this issue. It is time.

One challenging area that requires immediate attention is collecting taxes on income earned by Jamaica's numerous professionals of all types in private practice -- general practitioners, specialists of all kinds, including opthamologists, opticians, psychologists, psychiatrists, dentists, and all others.

I say this because over the past 5 years I've had reason to visit several types of doctors in Jamaica, including some of those mentioned, and in every single case the doctors demand payment in cash only and refuse to accept any form of payment that creates a paper trail. They refuse to accept debit and credit cards and cheques. Even when services are very expensive the doctors demand that patients must bring cash as dangerous and unwise as it is to walk with large sums.

This type of approach is open to tax cheats and tax evader, as there is no way the Government can accurately determine the doctor's income to assess the right amount of taxes that are owed.

To make matters worse, when I've asked for a receipt from the doctors' receptionists, I have been told "the receipt book finish", or I have been given receipts without any number on them, or with one doctor I was given receipt #0202 on one occasion and the same #0202 the following week.

Look into this.

D Douglas

Returned resident

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