Tax Administration Jamaica (TAJ) and entities within Sagicor Group Jamaica are appealing to entrepreneurs who operate micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) to file and pay their annual business taxes by today’s (March 15) deadline, in order to be eligible for tax compliance benefits.
The calls were made by the experts in the banking, investment and revenue collection sectors on March 6 at Sagicor Bank’s annual ‘Mastering Tax Compliance’ conference at The Jamaica Pegasus hotel in New Kingston.
Ainsley Powell, commissioner general of TAJ, encouraged entrepreneurs to consult them in the early stage of their business development.
“One of the first things that entrepreneurs should do when they start businesses is to come to us,” he said.
“We don’t want persons to have the experience of starting a business, then coming to us for certification years later and the assessment reveals that they have years of back taxes.”
The other panelists agreed with Powell, and they emphasised that tax compliance is also essential for businesses to be able to access loans, credit cards, and other credit facilities from financial institutions in order to scale up and maximise profits.
Mischa McLeod Hines, vice president of Capital Markets at Sagicor Investments, noted that tax compliance is essential for companies to be able to list on the Jamaica Stock Exchange and raise funds from investors.
“In the due diligence process, we will review your audited financials, we will talk about the corporate governance of your company, and of course, you have to be tax compliant,” she said.
Similarly, tax compliance is a necessity for clients to access business loans and credit cards, explained Tanya Sloley, assistant vice president – cards and payments at Sagicor Bank.
TOOLS TO REMAIN TAX COMPLIANT
“Credit cards can also be used as tools to remain tax compliant,” she added.
“For example, when holders of the Sagicor Bank Mastercard Business Credit Card use it to make tax payments they earn a 30-day payment-free holiday, which helps with their cash flows.”
Powell also noted that businesses with employees can also benefit from the Employment Tax Credit (ETC) when they file and pay their taxes on time.
“This credit is applied when businesses file and pay monthly payroll (SO1) on time. They will receive, as credit, the payment made for NIS, NHT, and Education tax against the income tax due. That is up to a 30 per cent relief, which effectively gives businesses a tax rate of 17.5 per cent, down from 25.”
Michael Willacy, vice-president – corporate, SME Business Banking & Strategic Business Development, Sagicor Bank, reminded attendees at the conference that they can receive additional information on taxes, as well as other business training, from Sagicor Bank Business Resource Centre.
“It is with our MSMEs in mind that Sagicor Bank created our Business Resource Centre, which is located in the heart of Half-Way Tree,” he noted.
“This centre is a partnership between us and the Jamaica Business Development Corporation (JBDC), and we offer technical skills training, business advisory services, training in marketing, project management, as well as assistance with tax compliance.”