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NCC February 2013

National Competitiveness Council

CHANGE THE WAY JAMAICA DOES BUSINESS JOIN THE EFFORTS TO IMPROVE THE WAY WE DO BUSINESS BY BEING INFORMED AND ACTIVELY USING SYSTEMS TO REDUCE TRANSACTION TIME What is the National Competitiveness Council (NCC)? Chaired by the Minister of Industry, Investment and Commerce but comprised of public and private sector stakeholders, the NCC seeks to develop initiatives to improve the business environment and the ease of doing business in Jamaica. Its most recent initiative is the development of a comprehensive reform agenda that identifies the reforms that need to be implemented in order to have a more enabling business climate. The agenda examines the indicators in the Doing Business Report (DBR), Global Competitiveness Index (GCI) and the Logistics Performance Index (LPI) and outlines steps to improve Jamaica’s performance in each. The NCC believes that stakeholders must be kept informed of the coordinated efforts of agencies to improve the business environment.

PAYING TAXES INDICATOR How does the Doing Business Report measure this indicator?

Doing Business Report Reflects TAJ's Improvements in Paying Taxes The continued efforts by Tax Administration Jamaica (TAJ) to make paying taxes easier have resulted in Jamaica improving in the paying taxes index of the latest Doing Business Report (DBR), produced by the International Finance Corporation and the World Bank. The 11 point improvement was due mainly to TAJ, in partnership with the National Housing Trust, National Insurance Scheme and the HEART Trust NTA, allowing employers to make joint payroll payments and reports.

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Published by the National Comeptitiveness Council Secretartiat – Feb 2013


E FILING IS THE WAY TO GO! • • • •

FASTER TAKES LESS TIME IS LESS COSTLY IMPROVES JAMAICA’S RANKING IN THE DOING BUSINESS INDICATOR RANKING – PAYING TAXES

IMPORTANT UPDATES! •

All taxes except for motor vehicle can be paid for or filed through electronic systems

Large Taxpayer Office Programme is a continuous initiative to encourage major tax payers to file taxes online

A programme has been developed to encourage major tax payers to utilize the online filing system with the anticipation that the ease and convenience of the new system will encourage a higher rate of usage. Accountants must get involved in similar reforms in order to effect real change in the business environment

Jamaica has already made it easier for companies to pay taxes by allowing joint filing and amalgamation of all social security contributions. These reforms were instrumental in reducing the number of payments per year from 72 payments to 36 payments and helped improve Jamaica’s ‘paying taxes’ indicator by 11 places in the most recent Doing Business report

It is also in the interest of accountants to be aware of these business reforms which aim to make it easier for them to retrieve and analyze the required data for calculating tax returns

Efficient tax filing and payment procedures serve to minimize tax liability, increase participation and ultimately maximize government revenue from tax collection. Hence, accountants must be involved by providing feedback on current bottlenecks and recommending process upgrades in order to improve business environment

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Published by the National Comeptitiveness Council Secretartiat – Feb 2013


Did you know: With a global rank of 21, Jamaica is one of the best performers in the region with regards to Starting a Business? The island has one of the quickest turnaround times for starting a business (7 days) as well as the lowest cost relative to income per capita. (6.7%).

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OCTOBER 23, 2012 Companies Office of Jamaica launched its upgraded Document Processing Management Information System (DPMIS), which allows for the automated registration of all company documents. “The COJ is confident that once these initiatives are Companies Office of Jamaica (COJ) can now collect the required fees, implemented they will on behalf of the Stamp Office, payable on articles of incorporation, and contribute to a significant affix the stamp duty paid medallion on such documents on behalf of improvement in Jamaica's the Stamp Commissioner. This means that customers will no longer ranking in the World Bank's have to travel to the Stamp Office prior to lodging their documents at Doing Business Survey over the COJ the next year or two” Significant feature of the enhanced DPMIS is the tracking number, Judith Ramlogan, CEO of COJ which will give customers the ability to track a filing process using a and Registrar of Companies single unique number, instead of having to provide details. The number will appear on the customers' receipt, and will also allow on-line tracking of filings. Business names will now be processed using the DPMIS which will include electronic feesheeting, system logging and all the processing benefits that are currently enjoyed by companies. COJ is now able to process business names filings more efficiently and improve the level of integration between business names and companies, particularly in relation to the conduct of name searches.

Work regarding the implementation of the Business Registration Form (Super Form) is in its advanced stages. The Business Registration Form will facilitate the collection of all information required by the regulatory agencies involved in business start-up at one portal (the COJ). This will mean that persons who want to register businesses will no longer have to attend each agency physically to undertake the registration at each of them. Upgrading of the COJ’s website to facilitate online registration of new companies and new business names. Other enhancements include the execution and monitoring of the call-out and dispatching of documents (certificates, amendment notices, and other correspondence) through the DPMIS. This will allow customers to sign electronically for all documents, thus eliminating the use of paper

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Published by the National Comeptitiveness Council Secretartiat – Feb 2013


The World Bank considers the process of closing a business to be an incentive or disincentive to entrepreneurship, which leads to the creation of new jobs and therefore contributes the productivity of an economy. According to the latest Doing Business Report, closing a business in Jamaica takes over one year to complete, costing 18% of the debtor’s estate. Prolonging the liquidation process adds more losses to the debtor and places a strain the financial system. Against this background, the Ministry of Industry, Investment and Commerce has made the reformation of the Insolvency Act a top priority for 2013 with the understanding that the process of closing a business has implications on the creation of jobs and new business activity. The Insolvency Law must provide clear and transparent procedures that allow Accountants to exercise the use of limited liability status in order to minimize losses. As contractions in global economic activity puts pressure in investment patterns, countries around the world are seeking ways to become more competitive in order to benefit from investment flows. Accountants must pay closer attention to international benchmarking reports such as the Doing Business Report to first understand the indicators being measured, and then recognize the significance of their role in driving specific business reforms. A more efficient business environment characterized by fewer procedures, less time and lower cost in Jamaica will attract foreign direct investment.

RESOLVING INSOLVENCY (CLOSING A BUSINESS) Jamaica is ranked 32nd in the world and is one of the best destinations for resolving insolvency within the region given the relatively short time (1.1 years) and relatively high recovery rate per dollar.

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Published by the National Comeptitiveness Council Secretartiat – Feb 2013


Business Reform - Ezine for Accountants Feb2013B revised