The deputy commissioner of inland revenue, Orris Thomas, has called his department’s computer system “outdated, corrupt, unstable and [likely to] crash at any time,” according to a report on the recent deliberations of the House of Assembly’s Standing Finance Committee.
Mr. Thomas also told legislators that a badly needed new system could cost between $3 million and $5 million, the report stated.
While questioning Mr. Thomas in April’s SFC hearings, which are closed to the public, opposition member Julian Fraser (R-D3) asked whether the department had the minister’s support for the needed new software. The SFC report included no response from Mr. Thomas.
Mr. Fraser then said that the department should not need to
appear before the committee to ask for funding given that it falls under the Ministry of Finance.
He also criticised the department for demanding paperwork he feels is redundant, according to the report.
Referring to the monthly and annual payroll tax remittance forms, he asked why employers are “required to fill out monthly declarations for their employees while still having to provide the same information at the end of the year.”
When Mr. Thomas responded that the forms required annually serve as a means of reconciling the monthly submissions, Mr. Fraser called the procedure “a nuisance to businesses” and asked if it could be eliminated. Mr. Thomas replied that eliminating the process would require legislative amendments.
When Transportation, Works and Utilities Minister Kye Rymer (R-D5) inquired about any other challenges faced by the department, the deputy commissioner replied that it is also facing issues with space, given that it currently occupies the Central Administration Building in the space belonging to the Ministry of Education, Culture, Youth Affairs, Fisheries and Agriculture.
He also stated that with four vacancies and several staff members who are at the top of their salary scale and unable to receive additional increments, the department is facing staffing issues.
Health and Social Development Minister Carvin Malone (R-at large) ex- pressed support for fully funding the department, noting that the revenue it collects represents about 14 percent of the government’s overall income.
He added that requests of such high-earning departments should be accommodated so that they can “have all the resources needed to operate fully and comfortably.”