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Fitness, insurance required for registration

Published:Sunday | May 18, 2014 | 12:00 AM

Tax Administration Jamaica (TAJ) continues to detail the required documentation and procedures for operating a motor vehicle legally in Jamaica. Today, the focus is on the procedures for and importance of having proper motor vehicle documentation.

Operating any type of motor vehicle in Jamaica without the proper documentation is illegal and may result in hefty fines, confiscation of the vehicle and even the driver's arrest.

Outside of a valid driver's licence, you must have a certificate of fitness, insurance coverage and your vehicle's registration. All these documents must be valid and current.

These documents have an expiration date. With the expiration of these critical documents, renewal is absolutely necessary. This can be done in a very short time. You may renew your registration before it expires once you are in the month of its expiration, but not before that time.

Notably, Tax Administration Jamaica (TAJ) is responsible for the renewal of vehicle registration only. Insurance and the certificate of fitness fall outside of the TAJ's remit. However, you cannot have your vehicle registered without presenting its certificate of fitness and proof of insurance coverage.

Issuing the certificate of fitness falls under the jurisdiction of the Island Traffic Authority, through the examination depots islandwide. However, you are required to visit any tax office to pay the required fee or you may do so at the Swallowfield Depot, which accepts both debit and credit cards.

Having made the payment, take the vehicle to the examination depot to have it evaluated and a certificate of fitness issued. For private vehicles, the certificate lasts 14 to 16 months, while for public passenger vehicles (PPV) and carriage vehicles, it expires after six months.

RENEWAL

After obtaining the certificate of fitness, you must go to a tax office to have your registration renewed. The cost is dependent on whether it is a motorcycle, car or truck, and also on the type of plates.

Note also that a vehicle's CC rating (or engine displacement) will determine the amount paid for registration.

To renew the registration of a private vehicle, you should visit any tax office, taking along the vehicle's certificate of fitness, expired (or soon to be expired) registration and proof of insurance coverage.

These documents, along with payment, must be handed to a cashier. Note also that the payment amount is dependent on the length of registration you require, which can be for six months or a year. After making the payment and registration is approved, you are then issued with a sticker for display on the vehicle.

In the event that you operate a public passenger (PPV) or carriage vehicle, along with the documents required for a private renewal, the vehicle's valid road licence is also required to complete the process.

If the vehicle has been modified after its last registration, you are required to take along the vehicle's title as well.

In the event that you are unable to renew the registration in person, you can authorise someone to do so on your behalf. This person must be given a letter of authorisation signed by you, along with your identification card and their own.

You may sign up for the TAJ's TAXREM for reminders to renew your vehicle's registration, by calling our customer care centre at 1-888-TAX-HELP (829-4357). When you call, be sure to have your vehicle's particulars on hand.

For more information, visit www.jamaicatax.gov.jm.