Preliminary figures indicate that Tax Administration Jamaica (TAJ) has exceeded the first quarter collections target for the 2017/18 fiscal year. The net projection for June 2017 was $26.2B. During the period June 1 – 30, 2017 however, net collections totalled $32.8B, representing 125.2% of projections. The year to date (YTD) net collections now stand at $73.6B which is 109.4% of the $67.3B projected for the period. Refund payments made during the same period totalled $1.0B. Year-to-date refund payments totalled approximately $3.9B.
A review of the first quarter performance over the last three financial years shows that the target has consistently been surpassed, 103.1% in 2015/16; 108.5% in 2016/17 and 109.4% this year.This positive outcome, so early in the financial year is as a result of the continuation of focused compliance strategies which have resulted in TAJ surpassing its annual target for the past two fiscal years.
These compliance efforts included closer monitoring of arrears which was facilitated through the implementation of the Revenue Administration Information System (RAiS); the mandating of medium taxpayers to file their GCT returns online; the application of a system generated penalty of $5,000 per month per return for late filing. Additionally, the positive outcome may be attributed to the implementation of strategies such as the threshold abuse and new taxpayer registration programmes.
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. Traditional and social media were also employed to make information more readily available to taxpayers.
TAJ will continue to utilise all the avenues available to encourage and foster voluntary compliance through moral suasion. Notwithstanding, tax evaders will be aggressively pursued through intelligence and enforcement actions and brought to book.