THE EDITOR, Sir:
A RECENT proposal by a government senator to impose a tax on remittances is not only senseless, but points to the fact that our leaders are bankrupt for workable ideas and shows a blatant disregard for human fairness.
Conventional sources of government revenue are drying up because of inefficiency, inadequacy and inequity in the administrative processes. So the introduction of a tax on remittances which are mainly 'gifts' does not provide answers to address the problem, but will have the effect of losing mobile factors of production, driving the players underground to pursue tax evasion initiatives while depriving Jamaica of well-needed legitimate revenue.
Certainly, the senator must be aware that senders already pay generously to financial institutions for the service, plus the recipients pay consumption tax (GCT) when they spend these monies. For recipients to pay another tax would only serve to tax what we want to encourage and create added pressure on the lower echelons of the population for whom remittances from overseas relatives are sometimes their only source of financial income. The Government dare not introduce this tax, because there are insufficient social programmes to meet income shortfalls and gross unemployment levels in the society.
Additionally, I am forced to question whether such remittances fall outside the remit of the national taxation system.
My recommendation is that the Government needs to find other ways to raise funds for the public purse and improve the present system of collection.
I cry shame on this proposal from a government senator! This is not a well-reasoned case for additional taxation.
Pam V. Lowe