Sat | Jul 21, 2018

Holness wrong on tax hunt

Published:Wednesday | March 25, 2015 | 12:00 AM


I read with dismay the opposition leader, Andrew Holness', address to Parliament in response to Finance Minister Dr Peter Phillips' announcement of an intensified tax-compliance strategy being described as a harassment of businesses, as reported in The Gleaner of March 20, 2015.

Mr Holness is clearly demonstrating his lack of knowledge of how the tax authorities operate (Tax Administration Jamaica and Jamaica Customs Agency).

Tax cheating comes in two forms: (1) partial compliance and (2) non-compliance, and both deny the Government of much-needed revenue. Also, audit verification is carried out by compliance and regulatory audit units within these departments. Is he saying that these units be shut down and no verification done?

If harassment takes place, I am sure it's the exception.

I am sure the decision to go after partially compliant taxpayers is well informed.

On the contrary, civil servants are the ones being harassed by politicians to turn a blind eye to theirs, their friends and cohorts who have been found wanting in their dealings with the tax authorities. Some have been removed or even interdicted to get them out of the way. (I was a victim.)

Since we love to ape things from America, why don't we copy the best practices in their system to improve our compliance rate?

I dare any government - now or future - to do so.