The Revenue Appeals Division which was established under the Revenue Appeals Division Act 2015 became operational on July 1, 2015.
The Revenue Appeals Division Act 2015 allows for the establishment of the Revenue Appeals Division (RAD), as a Division within the Finance and Planning Ministry to adjudicate appeals against decisions of the Revenue Commissioners. The change will streamline the appeals process and will further guarantee the independence of the RAD as an adjudicating body.
The newly established Revenue Appeals Division will operate a simplified, time saving and cost effective system focused on helping taxpayers resolve appeals related to tax assessments from Revenue Departments such as the Tax Administration Jamaica and Jamaica Customs Agency.
As a result of the reduction in the time taken to conclude appeals and the potential for reduced legal and accountancy fees, the new appeals process will result in major benefits for both parties in a dispute. However, taxpayers may appeal directly to the Revenue Court if they so chose. In a case where the Commissioner’s decision is disputed, there will be a right of appeal to the Revenue Court. The new process now allows the RAD to increase the number of cases that may be considered within the same time frame. Further, it is no longer mandatory for a formal hearing to be conducted in every case. Cases will be decided on the basis of written evidence and informal meetings with the parties. An appeal may now also be concluded by way of a settlement agreement between the parties. The Commissioner RAD is now required to issue a written decision within 60 days of receiving all relevant information pertaining to the matter. The new legislation gives the Commissioner the authority to delegate his or her functions as she deems fit.
Whilst the RAD Commissioner will report to the Financial Secretary for administrative purposes, neither the Financial Secretary nor the Minister of Finance and Planning are allowed to interfere or influence its decisions. In making decisions RAD is only bound to follow the relevant legislation and decisions made by the Court. Only the Courts can overturn a decision made by the RAD. The Ministry of Finance and Planning received technical support from the International Finance Corporation (IFC), a member of the World Bank Group, in partnership with the Canadian Department for Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development (DFTAD) and the Swiss State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO). The World Bank provided advice during the drafting of the new law, the streamlining of procedures and the capacity building on customer service.