Sun | Feb 18, 2018

‘Robbed of royalties’ is right

Published:Saturday | May 27, 2017 | 12:00 AM

Reference is made to C.J. Williams' recent article on 'Frankie Paul, others robbed of royalties' (Gleaner, Monday, May 22, 2017). Is there another side of the dice that needs to be rolled and ventilated for the benefit of the public? Many persons may be quite surprised to find that there is no administrative structure linking the primary stakeholders in Jamaica that have something to do with royalty payments from the time they are collected; distributed to affiliates; and the requisite portion paid in the government coffers.

These stakeholders are: the Jamaican Copyright Licensing Agency (JAMCOPY); Tax Administration Jamaica (TAJ) and the Ministry of Finance & Public Service. Case in point, although JAMCOPY distributes royalty payments to its affiliates, it is not responsible for remitting 'personal income tax that might be payable on these royalties'.

The only way the TAJ (if it were interested to know) could get the list of affiliates from JAMCOPY, would perhaps be through the Access to Information route. In the meantime, the TAJ policy of penalties for late payment has the effect of placing an affiliate at a disadvantage, in terms of earning less than the penalty imposed for late filing (over which the affiliate has no control). Since they are not paying themselves.

This brings us to the Ministry of Finance & Public Service. How does the Ministry of Finance and Public Service expect to increase it revenue from tax collection, when it is unaware of all the components in the system? Has JAMCOPY, TAJ and the Ministry of Finance and the Public Service every met? Do they know one another? Did any of them do an analysis of the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats (SWOT) of the administration of royalty payments in Jamaica?