Grenadians at home and in the Diaspora will soon be able to pay their taxes Online through a new system being introduced by the Inland Revenue Division within the Ministry of Finance.
The OECS E-tax filing system, which provides customers with an opportunity to do business from the comfort of their homes online, was officially launched last year.
The final component of the programme, which is the implementation, testing and training for users was launched on Monday during a brief ceremony held at the Value Added Tax (VAT) office.
The system is expected to be fully implemented by July.
Grenada’s role as the pilot for the program, which will make the online filing of taxes a reality, is financed through a soft loan from the International Development Bank (IDB) of the World Bank and grant funding from the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB).
Other islands involved in the project are St. Vincent and the Grenadians, St Lucia and Dominica.
Project Manager, Electronic Government for Regional Integration Project (EGRIP), Karlene Francis said that the objective of the project is to promote the efficiency and transparency in the delivery of services such as registration, filing of documents and electronic payments of taxes.
According to Comptroller of Inland Revenue, Pauline Peters, the project is seen as an important part of Government’s reformed agenda and more particularly in the context of reforming operations of the Inland Revenue Division.
She said the system has been developed to interface with the current tax system, but also has the potential to adapt to any chosen tax system as well as interface with the banking system to enable payments.
Peters disclosed that once the system is fully commissioned, taxpayers would be able to register to become an e-user, register and receive tax identification number, file monthly and annual returns online and make payments.
In addition, taxpayers will also be able to amend registration details and view account balances at their convenience.
Initially, the taxes to be filed and paid online are, VAT, Income Tax, Annual Stamp Tax and Property Tax.
The system will also enable taxpayers to upload relevant forms, file returns, pay taxes using any internationally recognised debit or credit card and also allow transfers of funds from one bank to another and for customers to be able to check their account balances.
Presently, the system will only allow transfers from the bank providing e-payment services to the Government Consolidated Fund.
However through a regional approach the Caribbean Credit Card Cooperative through its corresponding Bank, the Grenada Cooperative Bank Limited has won the bid to provide the e-payment services to the Government of Grenada.
The Eastern Caribbean Central Bank (ECCB) would soon establish an Automated Clearing House facility for the new system.
Peters believes that the implementation of this new service would have positive impacts for Government in the reduction of taxpaying costs, cut in administrative costs, reduction in use of stationeries, and an increase in channels for collecting revenues with the potential for increase revenue intake.
She also noted that for the taxpayers, they will be able to get ease by doing business through a 24-hour service for their own convenience.
She said that in addition the system creates synergies with other government ministries regarding payments.
Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Finance, Timothy Antoine who also addressed the ceremony pointed out that the implementation of this new system falls in line with the New National Party (NNP) Government’s emphasis on the importance of ICT in the establishment of a new economy as well as the modernisation of the public sector.
“Long lines will be a thing of the past, and nobody will be able to make the excuse that they could not pay their taxes because they could not wait in the lines or that they have to leave to go and run their business. You can run your business all day long and pay your Inland Revenue (tax) all night long “, Antoine said.
The Permanent Secretary added that with the implementation of the system, it could result in an increase, as well as faster revenue collection for government and thus ensuring a much faster delivery of service to the Grenadian people.
Antoine disclosed that government is committed to giving passage of the necessary legislation in Parliament to support and enable the success of the project.
Ernestas Pociunas, Team Lead NRD (developer of the project) was on hand for the launching of the system and is convinced that they will complete the project within the stipulated time.