Preliminary figures indicate that Tax Administration Jamaica (TAJ) has exceeded the first quarter collections target for the 2016/17 fiscal year. For the month of June, the revenue authority collected $25.7B, which was 12.2% over the $22B target. The June performance continues the positive trend since the start of the fiscal year, which began in April that saw collections at 101% of the target; this grew in May to 112%.
The collections for the period April to June, when averaged, stand at 108.5% of the $61.9B target.
A review of the first quarter performance over the last six financial years, shows that the 2016/17 first quarter is the only one which reflects three consecutive months of over 100% collections.
This positive outcome, so early in the financial year is as a result of the continuation of focused compliance strategies which began last financial year, and resulted in TAJ surpassing its annual target for 2015/16. The compliance strategies used, are as outlined in the entity’s National Compliance Plan which was published on its corporate website (www.jamaicatax.gov.jm).
These compliance efforts included closer monitoring of arrears which was facilitated through the implementation of the Revenue Administration Information System (RAiS); the mandating of several categories of taxpayers to file online; the introduction and application of a system generated penalty of $5,000 per month per return for late filing. Additionally, the compliance activities have been bolstered by the passing of several pieces of legislation, namely Access to Third Party Information and Garnishment.
The service and education push continued as Taxpayer Education Teams, Technical Specialists, Client Relationship Managers and Customer Care Agents interfaced with taxpayers to educate and inform them of their rights and obligations as well as provide tax information and assistance. Seminars, workshops, sensitization sessions and speaking engagements were some of the strategies employed. Making more information available through traditional media and on social media was also
TAJ will continue to utilise all the avenues available to encourage and foster voluntary compliance through moral suasion. Notwithstanding, tax avoiders and evaders will be aggressively pursued through intelligence and enforcement actions and brought to book.