Caribbean tax administrators to meet in St Lucia

The content originally appeared on: Caribbean News Service

The annual general assembly and technical conference of the Caribbean Organization of Tax Administrators (COTA) is scheduled to take place in St Lucia in July.

The Director for Economic Policy and Development at the Guyana-based Caribbean Community (Caricom) Secretariat, Evelyn Wayne, said issues and solutions relating to the impact of the international tax agenda on Caribbean jurisdictions will feature at the conference.

Established 1971, the COTA aims to improve tax administration within Caricom, promote regional tax cooperation and harmonisation as well as closer collaboration with other tax organisations within the region and worldwide — Saint Martin being the only observer within the grouping.

“The purpose of COTA is to improve the efficiency of tax administrators within the community. At this point in time when member states are encountering considerable problems with fiscal space, the issue of revenue generation is high on our agenda.

“So, our role is to collaborate with each other to ensure that we share our experiences and for the betterment of tax administration within the Caribbean Community,” said Wayne, who is also the COTA executive secretary.

Speaking at the end of the executive council meeting held in Castries, Wayne said it was to discuss COTA’s strategic priorities and work programme for 2024 in addition to planning for the annual general assembly.

President of COTA’s executive council and Deputy Commissioner of Revenue for the Turks and Caicos Islands, Chinnel Andrews , said each country would have to implement their own individual measures outside of the tax administration “but of course, revenue is key to any country.

“The more revenue we collect the better the government will be able to provide services to the people of that specific country. So, once we can discuss ways that we can effectively and in an efficient manner implement revenue measures that can better enable the collection process for the country as well as not put a burden on the taxpayers,” Andrews said.

Comptroller for Inland Revenue in St Lucia, Marcia Vite, said she is pleased that Castries will be hosting the annual general assembly.

“Countries would volunteer to host the meeting. It’s always good when you can be the host, you can show off your island and you get the opportunity to invite some of your other teammates to the meeting to listen to all of the discussions,” Vite said.

At these meetings, you will get more comptrollers and heads of departments coming in and making their contributions at that meeting. So it will be at that level with many speakers coming on. Speakers will range around the world. So whether it be UN speakers, OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development) but more on the Caribbean and the Caribbean Experience,” she added.

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