A new Comptroller of Inland Revenue (IRD) has taken up duties at the Ministry of Finance and is looking to tackle the issue of the fair paying of taxes.
He is Corland Forrester who took up the position on August 24, replacing the outgoing Comptroller, Dr. Raphael Stephens.
No reason was given by government for the removal of the previous holder of the post who is now occupying the relatively insignificant post of Manager of the cash-strapped Grenada Postal Corporation.
Speaking to reporters last week Thursday, Forrester said that his experience in the United States will help him tackle the most troubling issue of paying taxes.
He gave the media an oversight into what his job entailed while living in the United States.
“During my professional career in the United States I did a variety of audits, financial audits. I did a lot of management consulting engagements which focued on helping organisations …”, he said.
“…I work(ed) primarily in what I call the public sector where I focused on the Federal government, state, local government – helping them improve their processes in (a) variety of areas – all relating to financial management”, he added.
Forrester disclosed that while in Grenada in February 2014 he wrote a white paper to government explaining where its focus should be when dealing with taxation.
“I was here last February – during that time a lot of the tax legislations that were implemented by the Government of Grenada were being discussed and it gave me the opportunity to really reflect and to get a good understanding”, he told reporters.
“As a result of that I wrote a white paper which I gave to a friend within the government because I felt that the focus should be, rather than implementing additional taxes, the assumption I made was that there was other low hanging fruits such as potential taxpayers that were not in the tax net, they were not paying their fair share of taxes,” he said.
According to Forrester, as a result of the White Paper, he was called and asked if he wanted to help implement what he suggested.
He said: “As a result of that and after deliberation I decided to… I believe that the low hanging fruits are individuals, like the self-employed individuals, the professionals, businesses that are currently not paying their fair share of taxes because when you look at the mission of the Inland Revenue division, there are three basic pillars that we are guided by, one is to administrate the laws in a very fair and equitable manner, to collect and accurately account for the taxes and to treat our customers who are the taxpayers in a very courteous and customer friendly manner”.
Forrester felt that once this is tackled, Grenada will benefit in terms of having the revenue to provide the services that are needed for the island’s infrastructural development.
“…I am not focused on the financial management side as someone who would help people to manage their money but rather to help businesses and governments and organisations improve on their processes so that they would be able to achieve the mission that they were set out for,” he explained.