Jamaica TAX Administration Reform & Performance

Goal:
To draft a research paper on the recent performance improvements of Tax Administration Jamaica and disseminate it to key stakeholders.

Specific Objectives:
Over a Three-month period the Institute of Law & Economics (ILE) will:

  1. Conduct research on one (1) key function of the Tax Administration of Jamaica soliciting the views of Government Officials and/or taxpayers on recent improvements. The key area of focus for the research will be Filing and Payment with a focus on taxpayer sanctions.
  2. Produce a 15-20 page report outlining the findings of the research, gaps in perception, knowledge or other factors affecting performance, recommendations and lessons learnt using the guidelines outlined in the USAID-funded book Detailed Guidelines for Improved Tax Administration in Latin America and the Caribbean.
  3. Disseminate the research to key stakeholders and solicit at least 20 comments and/or inputs
  4. Host at least two (2) events to discuss the findings of the research, gaps in perception, knowledge or other factors affecting performance, recommendations and lessons learnt.

Project Overview
The Tax Administration of Jamaica has recently undergone significant reforms, including, notably, the establishment of the semi-autonomous Tax Administration Jamaica (TAJ) with the passing of Revenue Administration (Amendment) Act of 2011 and the Tax Administration Jamaica Act of 2013.  The former Inland Revenue Department, the Taxpayer Audit and Assessment Department, and the Tax Administrations Services Department, which had comprised Jamaica’s Tax Administration since 1999, were consolidated and their functions and staff transferred to a unified TAJ, under a Commissioner General of Tax Administration with three Divisions – Operations; Legal Support; and Management Services, each headed by a Deputy Commissioner General.  The transformation to TAJ included the separation of Customs and of Taxpayer Appeals, with the latter now established as a division under the Ministry of Finance.

These ambitious reforms aimed at improvements across a number of performance measures.  In the recent past, Jamaica’s tax administration officials and external reviewers had noted that: there was no significant increase in tax compliance; tax fraud control through prosecutions remained ineffective; and that there were continued weaknesses in management; inadequate inter-departmental cooperation; a training backlog; incompletion of the Integrated Computerized Tax Administration System (ICTAS); a need for right-sizing of departments/units; classification inconsistencies; and a lack of harmonization of data with Customs.

The purpose of this research will be to gauge improvements in the performance of Jamaica’s tax administration over the past 5 years. The main area of focus for the research will be Filing and Payment with a focus on taxpayer sanctions. In 2013, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), published the book Detailed Guidelines for Improved Tax Administration in Latin America and the Caribbean (http://www.usaid.gov/where-we-work/latin-american-and-caribbean/tax-administration).  By presenting the core and support functions of a contemporary tax administration in individual chapters, and by detailing leading practices and key benchmarks for each function, this book may help organize a study of a tax administration.

Executing Agency
The Institute of Law & Economics (ILE) has been tasked by Deloitte Consulting LLP, under their United States Agency for International Development (USAID) funded project “Strengthening Public Financial Management in Latin America and the Caribbean (PFM-LAC)”. Although USAID is not substantially involved in the administration of this Grant Award, it is understood and agreed that USAID may supersede any decision by Deloitte Consulting LLP in respect to this Grant Award.

The Institute of Law & Economics (ILE), is a private non-profit organization (company limited by guarantee) based in Kingston, Jamaica, established in 1998 to foster collaboration, innovation, research/consultancy, public education and discussion between the legal and economic professions, with a view to promoting a multi-disciplinary approach to sustainable development locally and in the Caribbean Region. ILE has been working toward this through stimulating public discussion, training and debate in an objective, non-partisan and democratic manner, with a view of empowering our people while influencing national and regional policies that affect our lives.The ILE has a strong track record of experience organizing consultations and workshops for a variety of audiences and has a solid recognition and network of contacts among the civil society and academic communities in the Caribbean region.

Project Team

  • Georgia Silvera-Finnikin –Lead Researcher
  • Oliver Chen – Director, ILE
  • Keron Hicks – CEO, ILE
  • Takisha Barnes – Resource Personnel
  • Dwayne Gutzmer – Project Manager
  • Phillipa Rhule – Project Accountant


Contact Information
Contact person: Dwayne Gutzmer
Email: dgutzmer@ilejamaica.org.jm
Phone: 876-754-7701