With the introduction of a number of tax reform measures on June 1, Tax Administration Jamaica (TAJ) and Jamaica Customs Agency (JCA) have put strategies in place to meet an expected influx of queries from taxpayers.
This was disclosed by Technical Specialist at TAJ, Donna Newman and Collector of Customs, (JCA) (Kingston), Karlene Henry as they addressed a JIS Think Tank on Monday, June 2.
An island wide campaign has been launched, and sensitisation sessions held in several parishes, to educate the public on the new measures.
“We were in Savanna-la-mar last Tuesday and we are going island wide to educate the taxpayers. We have posted it (information) on our website and have our customer care centre (1-800- tax help) to facilitate queries that persons may have,” Ms. Newman informed.
She added that taxpayer education officers have been engaging in sessions at corporate entities, and with professional bodies and groups.
Meanwhile, Ms. Henry noted that several access points have been established to facilitate enquiries, including a hotline email: [email protected] jacustoms.gov.jm.
There is also a toll-free hotline: 1-888-customs (287-8667); and web access at www.jacustoms.gov.jm.
“We have been having consultations and discussions [with agencies, departments and groups] but like everything else that is new, you are going to have hiccups, you cannot be too ready…so it is going to be ongoing until everybody gets it right,” she added.
Several new tax collection mechanisms have become effective since June, and are being introduced as the government continues to roll out its reform of the country’s tax regime.
Some of the changes already occuring include government ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) now being registered as tax withholding agencies. This means that these entities and are now liable to pay GCT for goods and services, as well as collect from MDAs for goods and services rendered.
Other new measures are the $60,000 minimum business tax; a withholding tax on insurance premiums; GCT on imported services; and unifying of the rates on alcoholic beverages.
By Rodger Hutchinson