Bill passed to establish TAJ as autonomous body

The Senate has passed a bill that will see the establishment of Tax Administration of Jamaica (TAJ) as a more autonomous body.

The 39 Clause Tax Administration Jamaica Act was passed on Friday without amendment, after being passed in the Llwer House with seven amendments on Tuesday.

The act essentially aims to establish the TAJ as a semi autonomous body and sets out the guidelines for the appointment and role of a Commissioner General for the TAJ. This person will act as a Chief Executive Officer.  

The Act also prescribes the establishment of a board for Tax Administration. 

In a short debate, few issues with the bill were raised by members of the Senate. The first was highlighted by government senator, Imani Duncan Price, who said that room should be made in the legislation to address issues of conflict of interest which may arise as it relates to the Commissioner General and his Deputy. She suggested that the legislation should follow that of the South African model which takes this into account.

Opposition Senator Marlene Malahoo Forte had a similar concern to that which was articulated in the Lower house on Tuesday by opposition spokesman on Finance Audley Shaw who said the legislation gave too much power to the minister.     

The changes to the TAJ Act form part of the government's tax reform strategy which is one of the crucial areas of an International Monetary Fund (IMF) deal.


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