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Tax Admistration target lottery sales agents

Published:Sunday | July 12, 2015 | 7:00 AMTameka Gordon

Gaming and lottery sales agents are being targeted by Tax Administration Jamaica (TAJ) under the new compliance plan for the collection of income tax that the state agency says it intends to rake in for the Government's coffers.

Director of Communications at the TAJ, Meris Haughton, told Sunday Business that the entire gaming and lottery "sector is being looked at", as outlined in the TAJ's national compliance plan for 2015-16, which was published last week.

"It was also mentioned in the 2015-16 revenue measures as a compliance strategy, which is based on a risk-management approach," Haughton said.

The Government intends to take in revenues of $263.29 billion through the national compliance plan.

Haughton said the tax collectorate "cannot say at this time" what amount the Government is currently losing from non-compliance or the targeted sum to be collected from the lottery and gaming agents.

Sunday Business has received reports about one lottery agent who was recently targeted for non-payment of income tax by the TAJ.

Meanwhile, Supreme Ventures Limited (SVL), which contracts agents to sell its games, says while it has received no reports from agents on the matter, the action does not come as a surprise, considering the Government's drive to make good on its collections.

Lottery sales agents take a five per cent commission on sales for SVL. The agents pay over the proceeds of sales to the company's bank accounts "less this five per cent", vice-president, Group Corporate Communications, Sonia Davidson, told Sunday Business.

SVL makes its own tax payments to the TAJ and the Betting Gaming and Lotteries Commission (BGLC) weekly, Davidson said.

"The agents are self-employed; they are not employed to us. So the commission is their income, and they would handle that," Davidson said.

All businesses are required to pay annual income tax returns due March 15, with quarterly estimates on business profits due four times annually.

The agents' "obligations as employers will also be examined," Haughton said.

"As part of its compliance programme, TAJ is currently analyzing data from the BGLC, and will match this against returns filed by operators in the sector," she said of the TAJ's intentions going forward.

She said once the data is analysed, it will be matched against the TAJ's records to see if the operators had reported those amounts on their 2014 income tax returns, which were due to be filed by March 15, 2015.

tameka.gordon@gleanerjm.com