The Inland Revenue organisation is a Division of the Ministry of Finance and the Economy. It serves as the principal tax collecting agency in Trinidad and Tobago. The organisation is managed by a Board of five (5) Commissioners, one of whom is appointed Chairman. Board members are charged with the primary responsibility of administering taxes in Trinidad and Tobago, in accordance with Section (3) of the Income Tax Act Chapter 75:01.
Roles & Responsibilities
The Board of Commissioners, fulfil this responsibility by providing leadership and strategic direction to staff members as they administer tax laws related to the following nineteen (19) tax types: Income Tax, Corporation Tax, Petroleum Tax, Value Added Tax, Lands and Buildings Taxes, Club Gaming Licence, Hotel Accommodation Tax, Financial Services Tax, Insurance Premium Tax, Insurance Surrender Tax, Auctioneers', Money Lenders and Pawn Brokers Licences, Withholding Tax, Stamp Duty, Green Fund, Unemployment and Business Levies and Health Surcharge.
In keeping with international best practice, the work associated with administering these taxes is organised by functions. The five (5) functional areas are: Research/Planning/Objections/Reform; Taxpayer Services/Collections; Corporate Services; Audit/Compliance, and Legal/Policy/Administration. Executive oversight is exercised over each function by one of the five (5) Commissioners of Inland Revenue (CIR). With the exception of the Chairman of the Board, who is also the Commissioner responsible for the corporate services function, these Executive Officers are supported in the execution of their various responsibilities, by Assistant Commissioners of Inland Revenue (ACIR). Together, they lead and direct the operations of the several sections under their control.
The operational activities performed under the five (5) functional areas deliver the outputs and outcomes from which IRD's performance is measured. Therefore, a brief description of each function is provided below.
Reform/Planning & Research/ Objections Functions
As its name implies, reform treats with change, improvement and transformation. The overall goal of this function is to increase the organisation's capacity to improve its performance by developing and implementing approved projects. The planning function however, plays a central role in the development, implementation and monitoring of IRD’s strategic plan to assess the status of tax operations. Research facilitates the monitoring and reporting of taxation trends and activities, especially those related to the energy sector.
The objections function facilitates an appeals process whereby taxpayers are able to dispute tax assessment decisions made by the IRD. This is an important institutional arrangement that helps to ensure the protection of taxpayers' rights and lends credibility to the overall tax system.
Collections & Taxpayer Services Function
This function relates to all processes associated with the collection of taxes, starting with the registration of a taxpayer to the payment of assessed tax liabilities by taxpayers. This function is further divided into the following five (5) sub-functions: Taxpayer Services, Office and Field Collections, Enforcement, Accounting Control and Processing. Taxpayer services include: registration/de-registration, taxpayer assistance and VAT, PAYE and annuity processing.
Corporate Services Function
Corporate Services form part of headquarters operations and provide much needed support to the IRD’s internal and external customers. These include: office services, information technology services, internal audit, criminal tax investigations, finance & accounting and human resource management.
Audit/Compliance encompasses all operations related to the review, inspection and monitoring of taxpayers' business records to ensure compliance with tax laws. Audits involve the examination and verification of a taxpayers' financial and accounting records to determine liability to tax. On the other side, compliance activities seek to encourage taxpayers to report their incomes, accurately calculate tax liabilities, file tax returns and pay taxes. These activities are applicable to two (2) groups of Taxpayers. The first group comprises of large, financial & energy sector companies and international taxpayers, while the second group consists of individuals, medium and small taxpayers.
Legal, policy and administration functions provide critical support to the Division in several ways. For instance, legal officers provide advice to the BIR and fellow staff members on tax matters and also represent the IRD in tax appeal matters. The administration function allows the Division to treat with matters related to facilities, training, library services and taxpayer education. Policy enables the IRD to provide guidance to internal staff and external stakeholders, in the interpretation of tax policies and laws.