Jamaica Turning to Whistleblowers to Find Tax Evaders

May 3, 2011 Taxation in Jamaica

To denounce tax evadersLate last week the government of Jamaica revealed several new measures that it will take in order to cut down the high levels of tax evasion in the country and the extent of the national underground economy.

During the reveal of the 2011 – 2012 budget for the government of Jamaica on April 28th, the Minister of Finance Audley Shaw announced that the government would be taking an increasingly tougher stance on tax evasion, with several new measures to be implemented in the near future.

The first of the initiatives came into effect on May 1st, when the government opened an anonymous phone service which allows Jamaican citizens to submit information about other people and businesses who might be evading their tax obligations. All information provided to the tax authorities through the new whistleblowing service will be kept confidential and be followed up by a tax investigator.

The Minister stated that the government would attempt to make greater efforts to fight the country’s underground economy by addressing the issue and occurrence of unrecorded and unreported cash transactions. It was suggested that the new push will be made more effective by the new whistleblowing phone line, as tax authorities will greater access to information on non-complying businesses than they could have previously.

The government will also soon create and maintain a comprehensive database of all high-salaried professionals. The list will be cross-checked with tax authority records of individuals who file tax returns, to determine potential cases of tax evasion and non-filing.

The Finance Minister is pushing for the citizens of Jamaica to comply with their tax obligations and to utilize the new whistleblowing phone line, as the national budget requires greater levels of resources fund Jamaica’s health and education systems.

Photo by Marco Falcioni