Tax compliance a must for economic growth - Mahfood
Keisha Hill, Gleaner Writer
With some 63,000 registered companies in Jamaica and only 3,500 that regularly paying taxes, president of the Private Sector Organisation of Jamaica (PSOJ), William Mahfood, has endorsed initiatives of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Jamaica (ICAJ) to sensitise individuals and companies about the importance of tax compliance.
Mahfood, speaking at Monday's ICAJ media briefing, said figures, when analysed, indicated that one per cent of registered companies were paying 70 per cent of total taxes in Jamaica, and, with this in mind, Government must ensure greater compliance through improvements in tax collection.
"We need economic growth, and tax compliance is another way to ensure more money into the Government coffers. The Government, therefore, must play a strong role in this area and find innovative ways to get more people into the tax net," Mahfood said.
Despite the Fiscal Systems Modernisation project, aimed at increasing tax compliance, reducing costs and improving efficiency in the public sector, business processes and re-designed organisational structures to strengthen tax compliance, and improve customer service, have been found wanting.
ICAJ is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year and, as part of the year-long schedule of activities, the organisation will be making presentations to service organisations, universities, and targeted high schools, about varying topics including tax compliance.
The organisation will also embark on a membership drive to encourage students to choose accountancy as a preferred career option, as well as promotions of the benefits of being a chartered accountant. ICAJ has more 1,200 members employed in top-level management positions in industry, commerce, audit, information technology, banking, academia and the public sector.
Other highlights of the year will be the launch of a commemorative 50th anniversary scholarship, a chartered accountants week to be hosted in July, a business conference in October, and gala awards banquet in December.
Dennis Chung, president of ICAJ, said building on the vision of its founding members, the organisation has stood the test of time and is now recognised as one of the most vibrant professional bodies in Jamaica.
"This milestone provides the opportunity for us to reflect on our accomplishments, acknowledge those who have made them possible and share our plans for future successes. We look forward to a successful year of celebration," Chung said.
ICAJ was established in 1965 and formally incorporated under the Public Accountancy Act (PAA). ICAJ now has on register more than 3,500 accounting students pursuing professional accountancy qualification programmes.
For more information, visit www.icaj.org.