It was a second day of long lines yesterday at Corporate Area tax offices as persons tried to beat the expiration of the traffic-ticket amnesty.
The length of the lines was compounded by persons making regular end-of-month payments, including general consumption tax. At Cross Roads, Shanike Donnegan-Burke, payment purchasing officer, said there was about a 50-50 ratio of amnesty to other business. While persons said the line was moving steadily, there were glitches.
"Some people have come and said they have already paid, so we have to check which takes up time," she said. To add extra pressure, she said the swipe-card machines were "moving slowly" but did not know if that was due to the increased traffic. Most in line were non-committal about why they waited until close to the deadline to pay.
"Honestly, I wasn't sure if I had any tickets, so I went online and checked and realised I had two from 2007," said one man. At the Constant Spring office, assistant general manager of collections, Marcia Williams-Powell, said about 75 per cent of those doing business were paying off their tickets. Assistant general manager for taxpayer service, Denise McLean-Powell, noted that at 8 a.m. the crowd was unimaginable.
"If the line went across the street, they would reach Immaculate's front gate," she said, pointing to the high school across the road. They explained some people did not have the ticket number, so a laptop was set up to allow some to find it online. McLean-Powell noted that her section and the collections department usually handle the payments but, due to the increased numbers, workers from other sections were deployed to assist.
"We have additional people walking the floor to check persons' documents, making sure they have everything in place," she said. There was one line with two cashiers specifically dealing with amnesty payments. The regular express line also accommodated amnesty payments, provided the person was paying one ticket.
"Mi a go pay a Portmore, yah man," said one disgruntled man, referring to the Portmore Tax Office which is one of those open today. Meanwhile, waiting customers at the King Street office were becoming agitated as they thought some persons were trying to 'skip' the line but there were no altercations. Management representative Pauline Bennett said there was no line specially for amnesty payments and directed persons who didn't have their traffic-ticket number to the office's Licensing and Documentation section before joining the line.
Tax Administration Jamaica said it will be opening six locations today to facilitate the last-minute rush by motorists wishing to take up the traffic-ticket amnesty.
They are Constant Spring, Cross Roads, Portmore, May Pen, Lucea and Santa Cruz.
If you still haven't paid off your tickets, tax officials suggest:
You must have the traffic-ticket number to pay fines at the tax office. Carrying your tax registration number alone will not do.
If you paid tickets at the Traffic Court but are still seeing non-payment on the system, go back there, get an invoice showing proof of payment and carry that to police traffic headquarters at Elletson Road.
Note: You cannot pay your outstanding tickets at Paymaster or any other bill-collection agency. Only tickets recently acquired can be paid there.