Wed | Aug 23, 2017

No more TRN cards ... TAJ switching to letters

Published:Sunday | March 20, 2016 | 3:00 AMTameka Gordon
Meris Haughton, Director of Communications at the Tax Administration Jamaica.

Tax Administration Jamaica says it is removing the financial costs of printing Taxpayers Registration Number or TRN cards, and will instead advise taxpayers of their allotted numbers via letter.

The switch will save the tax collectorate a "significant" sum, director of communications Meris Haughton, told Sunday Business, but did not have the precise estimates available.

She, however, conceded that paper may not be as convenient as the laminated cards for persons, and that they will have to be more careful with the far more fragile letters. Tax Administration is also considering whether to issue plastic sleeves to hold the letters, she said, to assist with their preservation.

 

Three-part programme

The shift from cards was implemented under the new Revenue Administration Information System (RAiS) in December 2015. RAiS is being implemented in phases and is now in the second of a three-part programme, under which services such as the issuing of TRNs are being overhauled.

"The letters are replacing the cards, which the applicant will receive immediately," said Haughton. Under the old system, applicants were handed a temporary slip with their TRNs and told to return to the tax office at a given date to pick up the laminated cards. Now they will be handed the letter at registration.

"The letters are more cost effective and efficient (and) may be printed at any tax office immediately," Haughton said. The "manufacturing of cards were previously done centrally" and distributed to the respective tax offices from which the applications originated, for collection, hence the lag in delivery to applicants.

Another factor leading to the change is that the TAJ was often left holding uncollected cards "because they had the slip of paper with the numbers."

 

Cut costs, processing time

The letters are meant to speed up the process, Haughton said, and are less costly.

"The letter will make it substantially cheaper, particularly so because it is no cost to them (taxpayers); they will lose it today and come back for another one tomorrow," she said.

Persons will also be able to reprint the letters on their own from the tax authority's website, should theirs become lost or torn.

Jamaicans are required to quote their TRN when doing any business with tax offices, and large service providers, such as banks and insurance companies.

Haughton says companies and agencies will be able to validate TRNs through Tax Administration's website.

"We have had discussions with our key stakeholders," she said. "All main users requiring TRN for their process, for example banks and credit unions, are able to access our system to validate a TRN," she said.

Previously, companies called Tax Administration to validate the numbers.

tameka.gordon@gleanerjm.com