Jamaica Planning Tax Reforms

April 15, 2011 Taxation in Jamaica

Governor General Sir Patrick AllenThe government of Jamaica is looking to drastically improve economic conditions, efficiency and equality in the country, and promising to instate a sweeping raft of tax system overhauls in the next national budget plan.

The difficulty of paying taxes in Jamaica is often cited by analysts as a reason behind the wide-spread “grey” economy, with the estimates on the extent of unreported business being up to 40 percent of the national economy. According to the data in the latest report of World Bank “Ease of Doing Business”, Jamaica ranked 174th out of 183 countries for the ease of paying taxes. The difficulty has been attributed to the country’s myriad of taxes and tax rates, along with the time it takes to comply with all regulations, and the 72 different tax payment dates currently enforced by tax authorities.

While delivering a speech to the members of parliament on April 14th in Kingston, Governor General Sir Patrick Allen revealed that an overhaul to the tax system will be carried out in the first few months of the current fiscal year. The details of the reforms and a proposed timetable of changes will be revealed on April 28th, when the government initiates its Budget debates.

The overhaul is expected to reorganise the wide array of tax exemptions that are currently available, as they now are considered to be inefficient and too costly to continue. The entire tax payment process will also be modernised, with a greater push towards information technology and internet filing, to reduce administration and compliance costs in Jamaica. Consideration will also be given to changes to income tax rates, in order to attract more international investors into the country, and boost consumer activity nationally. Prime Minister of Jamaica Bruce Golding has also hinted that the government will examine the possibility of lowering personal income taxes alongside some other tax changes.

Photo by GC Communication