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Morais Guy, Minister without Portfolio in Jamaica's Ministry of Transport, Works and Housing, has said that a new flat tax for the public transport system is intended to make the process of paying taxes easier.
“I want to make it absolutely clear that this new system is not a draconian measure, as some want to suggest. It is a measure that is an alternative to filing your returns,” the Minister said at a press briefing on Tuesday, July 23, at the Ministry’s Maxfield Avenue offices.
“Most taxi operators can’t be bothered or don’t have the time to go into the Tax Administration (TAJ) offices before the 31st of March each year to file a return. What has been brokered is something that will...make life easier for them,” he added.
Under the new system, transport operators will pay one flat annual rate, which will cover income tax, education tax, National Housing Trust (NHT), and National Insurance Scheme (NIS) contributions.
According to the Transport Ministry, the move will eventually result in the further formalization of the public transportation sector as bus and taxi operators will ultimately contribute to statutory tax schemes.
Dr. Guy also explained that taxi and bus operators are not being forced to pay the flat rate, as those who wish to continue to file their annual tax returns can do so.
“We have been advised that a little over 50 percent of the operators in this country file tax returns, while about 48 percent do not file anything. We are facilitating a process, which makes it easier for this 48 percent, and those among the 52 percent, who file on a regular basis, who want to come on board to the new system,” he stated.
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