Thu | Jan 18, 2018

#JaBudget2017: Shaw warns of clampdown to collect $13.5b in property tax arrears

Published:Thursday | March 9, 2017 | 5:06 PM
Finance Minister Audley Shaw (left) with Prime Minister Andrew Holness in the House of Representatives this afternoon — Rudolph Brown photo

Although giving little details, Finance Minister Audley Shaw says a new project is to be launched to collect just over $13 billion in outstanding property tax.

While opening the 2016 Budget Debate this afternoon, he told lawmakers that tax compliance is one of the most important issues for the 2017/2018 financial year set to start on April 1.

Shaw said Jamaica's tax rates is high compared with similar middle income countries.

It's why he emphasised the importance of broadening the tax base, which he said has been successful.

That broadening involves the policy shift to indirect taxes on things such as consumption and away from direct taxes.

But the finance minister said tax compliance needs to be strengthened especially in areas such as customs.

Regarding customs, he said the agency's systems will be upgraded with the introduction of modern scanning devices to stem the flow of contraband and counterfeit goods.

— General tax arrears $234 billion
— Property tax arrears $13.5 billion