Gov’t aiming to pull taxis into tax net

KINGSTON — Government is moving to pull more operators of public passenger vehicles into its tax net, through a soon-to-be-implemented flat tax aimed at raking in approximately $55,000 a year from each licensed operator.

This could also pave the way for the much-touted proposal for operators to be tax compliant before being allowed to renew their road licences.

The Ministry of Transport, in a press statement yesterday, announced that an agreement had been reached with heads of the island’s public transport associations for the implementation of the tax, following months of discussion.

Minister without portfolio in the Transport Ministry, Dr. Morais Guy, said the programme to have cab operators tax compliant was indicative of the ministry’s commitment to bringing order to the sector, while improving the welfare of operators who will now benefit from making National Insurance Scheme and National Housing Trust contributions.

“This will pull more persons under the tax net because it is not about the amount of money, but it is the principle that everybody has to make a contribution to the country,” Guy added.

He further explained that Finance Minister Dr Peter Phillips would soon be providing further details on the implementation of this flat rate.

According to Guy, the move will eventually result in the further formalisation of the public transportation sector as bus and taxi operators will ultimately contribute to statutory tax schemes such as income tax, education tax, NIS and NHT.

But while some umbrella associations representing public transport operators have welcomed the move as beneficial to its members, the Jamaica Association of Transport Owners and Operators has stoutly opposed the decision.

When contacted yesterday, president of JATOO Louis Barton said he was only just being made aware of the agreement. (Observer)

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