‘Strengthening Tax Reform Initiatives’: Joe Issa Marks TAJ, ICAJ MoU Good for Jamaica

Certified Public Accountant (CPA) Joe Issa has come out in support of a memorandum of understanding (MoU) recently signed between the Tax Administration of Jamaica (TAJ) and the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Jamaica (ICAJ), stating it creates an appropriate forum for tax reform in Jamaica.

Josy
Joseph “Joey” Issa

“Talk reform and you are on the right track. The operative word is to reform; that means doing the right things better for yourself and those who are impacted. In other words, the more you do the right things, and the better you do them, the more benefits that will accrue to those who are impacted by what you do.

“But for that to happen things have to change both in what we do and how we do it, to create greater effectiveness and efficiency, respectively. They are equally important; for it’s no point doing the right thing only to find out you are not doing it right; or, even when you think you are doing the thing right, it turns out you are doing the wrong thing.

It’s like doing what the people want but not how they want you to do it. This has broad application, including how we do business. Such as importing and exporting and investing and creating jobs,” said Issa, who has not only spoken of the need for local corporations to pay tax but thinks that instituting a rate that is above what obtains in Jamaica’s trading partners is putting domestic firms at a disadvantage relative to their foreign counterparts.

He explains further: “The TAJ is doing the right thing by ensuring tax compliance, but like most similar cases they need guidance and assurance that they are going about it the right way; that’s where I see value in the MoU.

Issa was commenting on a recent MoU signed between TAJ and ICAJ to strengthen longstanding collaboration on matters related to the country’s tax system.

“The concept, which has been adapted from the Canadian Revenue Authority’s model, underpins the establishment of a Consultative Committee that will provide a forum for dialogue between senior officials and members of the TAJ and ICAJ on a wide range of issues,” according to the Observer.

(L to R) Peart, Campbell, Powell, Sinclair
(L to R) Peart, Campbell, Powell, Sinclair

These reportedly include the sharing of information on existing and proposed compliance programs to identify improvements; the identification of opportunities for collaboration with taxpayers; and revisions to protocols facilitating taxpayers, based on legislative amendments, among other things.

The committee is to be co-chaired by TAJ Technical Specialist, Bevon Sinclair, and Head of the ICAJ’s Tax Committee, Allison Peart. They were among the four representatives who co-signed the MoU at the Jamaica Pegasus Hotel in New Kingston recently.

The signing also included TAJ Commissioner General, Ainsley Powell and ICAJ President, Raymond Campbell and was witnessed by Finance and Public Service State Minister, Fayval Williams. The signing occurred during the TAJ’s ‘Let’s Talk Tax’ forum, which was held under the theme: ‘Tax Compliance in Jamaica’.

Powell was quoted say the MoU provided “an excellent opportunity to strengthen the TAJ’s strategic relationship with the accounting fraternity in ongoing efforts to further improve the administrative procedures and processes driving Jamaica’s tax system.”

He also anticipated that “both organisations collaborating to identify the necessary changes that result in improvements in the overall system will redound to the benefit of taxpayers thereby engendering greater voluntary compliance,” according to the newspaper.

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