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Expert says TAJ has power to nab tax cheats

Published:Monday | April 28, 2014 | 12:00 AM

Jermaine Francis, Staff Reporter

AS THE debate continues to rage over the Government's proposals to raise $6.7 billion in additional taxes this fiscal year, one tax expert has recommended that Tax Administration Jamaica (TAJ) exercise its powers to get non-compliant businesses to file their taxes within a stipulated period.

Head of Tax at KPMG Jamaica, Norman Rainford, said TAJ has within its purview the authority to issue a Form 13, which "is a notice issued where you are required to file income tax returns within a stipulated time period".

He said this would help to get some of the close to 52,000 companies that are on the records as not filing their income tax returns to comply.

KPMG, in its bulletin, recently said, "Based on the 2013 Recommendations of the Incentive Working Group, there were over 62,000 companies registered with the Companies Office in 2012; 10,239 corporate income tax returns were filed for year of assessment 2011."

Rainford said the issuance of the Form 13 would prove a valuable tool in getting the majority of these companies to start filing their returns if it is followed up with an assessment within a legally defined period.

He said this would force some companies to de-register or liquidate as some of them are no longer in operation but are still on the Companies Office records.

However, he said the greater benefit would be that some companies would be forced to be on the active tax roll.

not hard to track

Noting that these companies already have tax registration numbers but are not on the active tax roll, Rainford said it would not be hard to track them down.

He said while there would be some companies that would resist Form 13 and the assessment, TAJ has enough powers to go after these dodgers.

"TAJ should actively pursue and take all the necessary steps at its disposal, including putting a lien on assets, to get these companies to come on board and getting the tax net to become compliant," Rainford said.

He said the minimum business tax (MBT) of $60,000, which came into effect on April 1 this year, will not go a far way in capturing delinquent taxpayers.

Rainford said the imposition of the MBT was not enough to compel those businesses that resisted paying in the past to do so now.