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In Jamaica, new legislation supports improvements to the country’s tax administration

In March, Jamaica’s Parliament passed a legislative act to establish Tax Administration Jamaica (TAJ) as a Semi‑Autonomous Revenue Authority. This bill marks an important milestone for TAJ as well as for the USAID-funded Promote, Renew, Invigorate, Develop, and Energize (PRIDE) Jamaica program. Implemented by CARANA Corporation and its consortium partners, PRIDE Jamaica is working with local partners to foster a more competitive business environment in Jamaica by improving the country’s policy framework and eliminating administrative barriers. One of PRIDE Jamaica’s top priorities is to improve voluntary tax compliance and reduce the burden on taxpayers to comply with their tax obligations. PRIDE Jamaica has been working with TAJ and the Ministry of Finance and Planning to reform Jamaica’s tax administration infrastructure.

Along the almost three-year process to the bill’s success, PRIDE Jamaica provided counsel to TAJ while TAJ continued to garner support from private and public sector partners for the initiative, stressing the role that an improved operating structure can contribute to tax administration reform. The move to a Semi‑Autonomous Revenue Authority will enable TAJ to improve operational performance in the country’s tax administration and is expected to enhance service delivery, accountability, and voluntary compliance. This legislation will also allow TAJ to define required performance targets in a measurable way, delegate authority to any appropriate level of the organization, improve human resources through quality recruitment, provide quicker response times in decision-making and streamlining operations, and allow greater scrutiny of annual, medium, and long-term business planning.

Published April 2013