TAJ and ICAJ sign MoU to strengthen collaboration on tax matters

ICAJ and TAJ signMOUKINGSTON, Jamaica (JIS) — Tax Administration Jamaica (TAJ) and the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Jamaica (ICAJ) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) that will further strengthen their longstanding collaboration on matters related to the country’s tax system.

The concept, which has been adapted from the Canadian Revenue Authority’s model, underpins the establishment of a Consultative Committee that will provide a forum for dialogue between senior officials and members of the TAJ and ICAJ on a wide range of issues.

These include: the sharing of information on existing and proposed compliance programmes to identify improvements; the identification of opportunities for collaboration with taxpayers; and revisions to protocols facilitating taxpayers, based on legislative amendments, among other things.

The committee will be co-chaired by TAJ Technical Specialist, Bevon Sinclair, and Head of the ICAJ’s Tax Committee, Allison Peart, who were among the four representatives co-signing the MoU at the Jamaica Pegasus Hotel in New Kingston on Wednesday.

The signing, which also included TAJ Commissioner General, Ainsley Powell and ICAJ President, Raymond Campbell, was witnessed by Finance and Public Service State Minister, Fayval Williams.
It took place during the TAJ’s ‘Let’s Talk Tax’ forum, which was held under the theme: ‘Tax Compliance in Jamaica’.

Powell said the MoU provides an excellent opportunity to strengthen the TAJ’s strategic relationship with the accounting fraternity in ongoing efforts to further improve the administrative procedures and processes driving Jamaica’s tax system.

He said he anticipated that both organizations collaborating to identify the necessary changes that result in improvements in the overall system will redound to the benefit of taxpayers thereby engendering greater voluntary compliance.

“Tax Administration Jamaica is, indeed, very proud and humbled to continue to work with our partners and stakeholders and conceptualize initiatives that will assist in nation building. It goes without saying that (with) the signing of (this) MoU between TAJ and ICAJ, our professional relationship will only get stronger, and that augurs well for the future of tax services,” he added.

In his remarks, Campbell described the MoU’s signing as a “significant and important milestone in an ongoing collaboration over many decades.”

“This is the right moment to strengthen our cooperation. We trust that this dialogue will result in changes that facilitate and enable efficiencies and other benefits for taxpayers while maintaining the integrity of the tax system,” he further added.

Williams, who was the keynote speaker at the forum, cited a Caribbean Policy Research Institute (CaPRI) 2012 study titled ‘Improving Tax Compliance in Jamaica’, which noted that while it was taxpayers’ responsibility to ensure they are aware of their statutory obligations, “it is (in) the tax authorities’ interest to ensure that citizens are educated about all their responsibilities and are able to comply.”

“This suggests a partnership between the tax authority and the taxpayers. The tax authority on the one hand, ensuring that citizens are educated (and) that it is easy to pay taxes…and taxpayers’ willingness to comply with the laws,” she said.

The forum formed part of activities marking the TAJ’s inaugural Tax Administration Week, which was observed from October 28 to November 3, under the theme: ‘Making a Difference Through Service’.

Article Source : Jamaica Observer

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