TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO REVENUE AUTHORITY (TTRA)
What is the Revenue Authority?
The Trinidad and Tobago Revenue Authority (TTRA) is the new proposed agency for the collection of taxes, investigation into tax evasion, the conduct of audits of tax payer's books and for border protection. It will replace the existing Board of Inland Revenue and the customs and excise division.
When will it come into existence?
The TTRA bill is currently before a joint select committee of parliament after which it will be laid in the House of Representatives. It could be a matter of months before the legislation is passed.(and is planned by the government to become law within a year)
How is it different from the old tax collecting system?
It is intended to eliminate corruption from the existing system and will be faster and much more agile than what existed before. The TTRA is moving to online submission, payment and collection of taxes. All intended to be faster, more efficient and transparent.
What are the TTRA's powers?
It will have powers to revamp and modernize the tax collection systems. The staff will be highly skilled and performance driven. It will make use of up to date computer technologies to identify the tax paying public and to ensure that everyone pays the taxes the TTRA believe are owed. Remember once you have a bank account, all your transactions can be inspected by the TTRA.
What will it do?
It will enforce the tax laws. Did you know the law requires every person engaged in any trade, business, profession or vocation to keep proper records and books of accounts, including records of annual inventory (stock). These records must be in the English Language and must be kept in the place of business or at the residence of the proprietor. Did you know that it is the law that the small business person MUST file an income tax return every year?
How will it affect me?
If you are self-employed as a doctor, lawyer, hairdresser, builder, mechanic, doubles vendor or if you run any kind of small business you should be keeping proper books of account, generating financial statements, submitting tax returns and paying taxes if necessary.
What happens if I don't comply?
The TTRA has the power to audit your books and make you pay penalties and fines for unpaid taxes on previous years as well as the current year. Not keeping proper books and records in itself can incur fines. Penalties and fines can be up to 100% of unpaid taxes.
What to do to avoid these fines and penalties?