Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : April 8th 2018 Contents SB2 in the seat
Sunday, April 8, 2018
It's tax season again.
Not exactly an exciting
time, but it's a busy one.
Accountants across the
T&T are sorting through
seemingly endless piles of
TD4s and more.
In this country, individuals and
businesses are required by law to
pay various forms of tax.
Tax director at KPMG Nicole Jo-
seph explained the process.
She said companies have to pay
their corporation taxes/business
levy and green fund levy for in-
come year 2018 in quarterly in-
The irst instalment for income
year 2018 was due on March 31,
2018---late payment attracts inter-
est at 20 percent per annum.
"So they had that irst deadline
date in March. The next instal-
ment for income year 2018 is due
on or before June 30, 2018.
"For the April tax iling season,
companies need to prepare and
ile their 2017 tax returns (and
any prior year if not already done)
and pay any inal balance of cor-
poration tax or business levy and
green fund levy by April 30, 2018.
Any payments for income year
2017 made after April 30, 2018 will
incur interest at 20 percent per
annum for late payment," Joseph
She said companies have until
October 31, 2018 to ile the 2017
tax return and after this date a late
iling penalty of $1,000 will be lev-
ied for every six months the tax
return remains outstanding.
The Board of Inland Revenue
(BIR) issues the tax return forms
and those individuals who are
earning just emolument income
would not need to ile tax returns.
Other individuals, however,
would be required to ile such re-
turns online as implemented by
the BIR a few years ago.
This is known as e-Tax.
This computerised method, Jo-
seph said, has made the process
easy to be monitored by the indi-
"Individuals would be able to
monitor and track the processing
of the tax return at the Board of
Inland Revenue. And it also makes
the process of any tax refunds that
may be due to these individuals
On whether the online method
can be somewhat onerous for
some people Joseph disagreed.
"That is the way going forward.
It would be onerous for people
who don't have the facilities and
technolo y but for other peo-
ple it's the way forward and it is
something I believe we all should
embrace," Joseph urged.
Individuals and employees are
no longer required to ile taxes
once their sole source of income
is employment income.
"The onus is on the employer to
deduct the correct taxes," Joseph
Regarding her thoughts on
tax evasion and tax leakage she
believed there were several pro-
cesses in the pipeline, in particu-
lar with the expected the Revenue
"Once the proposed Revenue
Authority is implemented it would
be able to address all these issues.
"They would have the proper
compliment of staff, the facilities
and technolo y be able to address
all the areas where they think the
leakages are occurring," Joseph
Despite repeated urges, year
after year, there are those who,
even though obliged, fail to ile
This, Joseph advised was bad
"Everybody has to be compli-
ant. It's a legal obligation.
"There are penalties and inter-
ests that are in place in the law so
that when they do catch up with
you, you would be now subject
to the tax on the income that you
didn't declare plus interests and
penalties for not being compliant,"
She added that the BIR actually
has records which can easily re-
flect whether taxes have been iled
In this vein, the BIR has been
issuing reminders to companies
with an expected deadline date to
submit tax returns.
"The board is being very pro-
active with respect to going after
companies that have not been
"There are cases where suf i-
cient reminders were sent and
there was no effort to respond
and provide the tax return or
requested information and the
board actually has powers to use a
best estimate and assess the com-
pany to be taxed, Joseph added.
On the issue of tax claims for
individuals this entailed irst-time
home owner's allowance, deduc-
tions for pension, annuity and NIS
and deductions for tertiary educa-
Companies enjoy all deductions
which are wholly and exclusively
incurred in generating that source
Supporting documents for ex-
penses and income are key in the
event of an audit by the BIR.
Whether the current system of
collecting taxes was ef icient Jo-
seph praised the BIR for carrying
out proper functions as in the case
of an amnesty.
"They would actually tell people
that, 'Look, our records show you
owe us a certain amount' and for
you to come in and either pay it.
"You also have the opportunity
to the explain to them or provide
evidence whether you have paid
the amount," Joseph said.
But she concurred that there
is always a lot more to be done,
especially when compared to de-
veloped territories and their ag-
gression on tax collection.
"Hopefully now with the pro-
posed changes, all things would
come into fruition. It's not just
about the Board of Inland Revenue
going out there and collecting.
"For the taxpayer, you also
have rights in terms of objecting
to assessments. You can go in and
obtain up-to-date information.
Hopefully a lot of these things will
be easier and the information will
be more accessible so people can
rectify their tax status as well," Jo-
In order to pay taxes, all individ-
uals must have a BIR ile number.
Individuals are no longer legally
required to ile income tax returns
unless they are professionals or
self-employed. Employers will de-
duct taxes from your salary and
pay them to the government on
However, a person can choose
happy with the amount of tax
that has been deducted from your
earnings by your employer.
If you are self-employed you
must ile a tax return at the end of
the inancial year. The iling dead-
line is set by the Inland Revenue
Division, is usually in March or
April, and can vary from year to
All taxpayers are entitled to a
personal allowance of $72,000
per year. This means that you do
not pay income tax on your irst
$72,000 of income, so you pay no
income tax at all if you earn less
than this amount.
You can reduce the amount of
tax by declaring tax-deductible
Continued on Page 3
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