The mission of the government of Jamaica’s Tax Policy Unit is to develop and maintain a tax regime which provides the required revenue for financing government's programmes and commitments, encouraging savings and investment and promoting social justice. It further states that “this is achieved by tax measures which broaden the tax base by creating a system which facilitates voluntary compliance by being efficient, simple and fair.”
Against this background of developing a society which promotes social justice and embodies a tax system which is efficient, equitable, simple and fair, the Government of Jamaica embarked on a comprehensive tax reform programme aimed at modernizing tax administration in Jamaica. Fundamental to the modernization is a cadre of highly trained and competent staff throughout the revenue services.
The Postgraduate Diploma in Tax Audit and Revenue Administration responds to this need, and is the result of a partnership among the Management Institute for National Development, Tax Administration Jamaica and the Office of the Services Commissions. The Programme and the partnership were launched in 1986, and the realization of the objectives of the Programme has been seen in the marked improvement in tax services as well as the ascent of graduates to the leadership ranks of the tax administration in Jamaica.
The Tax Audit and Revenue Administration (TARA) Programme has been designed to provide in depth training for existing and aspiring employees of the revenue services who are interested in expanding or developing their knowledge of the theory and practice of tax administration. The programme focuses on the complete tax administration professional and is underpinned by the following tenets.
• Learning is sequential, cumulative, and developmental
• Learning is relational and reciprocal
• Learning best occurs through experience with and exposure to multiple sources of knowledge/information (theory, research, and experiential), which is meaningfully evaluated, integrated, and synthesized through skilled, disciplined and reflective thinking
• Reflective thinking is learned and promoted through open discussion and shaped by expert guidance of more advanced professionals
• Socialization into the practice and profession of tax administration occurs through mentoring, that is, exposure to and collaboration with professional role models
Consequently and in keeping with the Competency Based Education and Training (CBET) philosophy adopted by the Agency, emphasis is placed not only on extensive classroom/theoretical learning but also extensive graduated fieldwork in different areas of tax administration locally.
The programme provides an international perspective with the object of benchmarking best practices from other jurisdictions. It also encourages innovation and problem solving towards the generation of “next practices” within the industry. Against the background of the Government of Jamaica Public Sector Modernization and Tax Reform Programmes, the tax professional is prepared to operate the “one call does it all” concept which has the important advantages of reducing the frequency of exposures that a taxpayer will have to tax administration as well as enhancing the quality of the interaction and leading to higher levels of tax compliance.
Because development is viewed as lifelong and spanning the duration of one's professional career, the TARA programme is also positioned as foundational for further training in tax administration.
The programme aims to equip participants with the requisite knowledge, skills and attitude to apply the tax laws to ensure compliance and determine tax liability, while providing information and assisting taxpayers to understand and appreciate the benefits of compliance. The concept of the “one call does it all” forms the basis of the programme content to ensure that graduates are able to competently deal with all tax types and therefore provide full tax services to the taxpayer. It is expected that graduates of the programme will be meticulous in ensuring that the Government gets all that is due to it under the law. Exposure to the programme is intended to enable graduates to make meaningful contributions to both tax policy and the operational side of tax management.
On successful completion of this programme participants should be able to:
• Understand the fundamental role that taxes play in the management of a country
• Understand the principles that guide public finance
• Understand the role and function of tax professionals
• Exhibit thorough understanding of the audit process
• Have comprehensive knowledge of all elements of tax compliance
• Have thorough knowledge of the organization of tax administration in Jamaica
• Be knowledgeable of the various tax laws and their associated regulations
• Understand the various tax types and tax rates
• Recognize the effect of tax administration on the various socio economic parameters
• Understand compliance issues
• Interpret the tax consequences of business forms (companies, partnerships, sole proprietorship)