Martin Baxter, Gleaner Writer
The names of more than 400 taxpayers accused of delinquency before the courts have been published in accordance with Jamaica's agreement with the International Monetary Fund (IMF).
Collectively, the accused delinquents owe the Tax Administration Jamaica (TAJ) just under J$10 billion and range from individuals, some of whom are high profile, to businesses, some of which are named multiple times in the extensive list.
Among the 460 names that have been brought before the court during the period of March and May of this year by the TAJ are household names such as talk-show host and former Jamaica Labour Party parliamentarian Clive Mullings.
Matter 'being dealt with'
Mullings, who was part of the Montego Bay Revenue Service Centre (RSC) contingent that collectively owed just short of J$4 billion, told The Gleaner the matter was "being dealt with" and that he was unhappy about the process of publishing the names of those owing taxes to the State.
"A lot of these things are assessments and they're often challenged," he said, noting he intended to dispute the case.
Another household name on the list of 'delinquent taxpayers before the court' is chairman of the South East Regional Health Authority, Lyttleton 'Tanny' Shirley, who told The Gleaner of his and his wife's inclusion on the list: "We are disputing tax penalties and it's before the court and we are dealing with it."
Shirley, who operates Mitchell's Auto Supplies Ltd, which also appears on the list, said a second court date had yet to be set.
Eight revenue centres across the island have taken the action on monies owed to them across a range of criteria, including general consumption tax, education tax, income tax, PAYE, company tax and corporate income tax.
Included as one of the stipulations in Jamaica's Memorandum of Economic and Financial Policies & Technical Memorandum of Understanding, part of the IMF agreement, is "the publication, without delay, of delinquent taxpayers and traders upon the initiation of court action (intended in the staff-level understandings to be set as a structural benchmark, and already implemented)".
The TAJ said it was encouraging taxpayers who have difficulty meeting their obligations to make arrangements to avoid court action.