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Jamaicans flock to pay taxes

Paying taxes on Constant Spring Road, Kingston.

Paying taxes on Constant Spring Road, Kingston.

KINGSTON — Tax Administration of Jamaica has reported a major increase in the number of persons visiting tax offices across the island, in the last two days, as the April 1 date for the new tax rates became effective.

Director of Communications at the TAJ, Meris Haughton, said the bulk of customers came to pay outstanding property tax, while others were making enquiries as to how much more they would be required to pay, given the recently announced increase in property tax rates.

“We have seen increase number within our offices as well as calls into our customer care centres; the volume of those calls has increased considerably,” Haughton said.

Yesterday, tax administrators at the Constant Spring Revenue Service Centre said because of the rush of customers, employees were forced to work up to 11:30 p.m. on Tuesday.

Meanwhile Haughton said, in the future, authorities would intensify their drive to get more Jamaicans to use online options to pay outstanding taxes in order to minimise the number of persons coming into the offices.

“We have been doing a series of publications, some advertising, (and) we have been using media to advise persons of the various options they have to pay outstanding taxes,” Haughton told the Observer yesterday.

She explained: “We have advised persons that they have the convenience of using the online options which they can use from the comfort of their offices or their homes.”

Messages, she said, have also been sent to customers in the Diaspora, informing them of their options of paying their property tax online.

According to TAJ, as a result of the change in the rates, all properties with an unimproved value up to J$100,000 will now be charged a flat rate of J$1,000. Properties with values exceeding J$100,000 up to J$1 million will attract an additional 1.5 per cent for every additional dollar above J$100,000. Properties with values exceeding J$1million will attract an additional two per cent for every additional dollar.

The TAJ has warned that if the tax is not paid within the applicable month, then payment of tax, penalty and interest may be enforced as provided under the law.

Unpaid taxes will incur a penalty charge of 10 per cent, and interest charge of 15 per cent per annum until paid in full. (Observer)

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