Belmopan. August 2, 2019. Today, August 2nd, 2019, a ceremony for the historic amalgamation of the Income Tax Department and General Sales Tax Department into the newly formed Belize Tax Service Department took place at the Charles Bartlett Hyde Building in Belize City.
The Government of Belize established a Program Office for the Modernization of Tax Administration of Belize and appointed Mrs. Michelle Longworth as the Program Manager in October 2018. This position has evolved as today she assumed the position of Director General. Mrs. Longsworth will continue to work along with the program team to establish a modern service-oriented Tax Administration, integrated with other government agencies and financial institutions, all businesses and the citizens of Belize. The new management team of the Belize Tax Service along with the program offices will continue to work on the redesign of the department according to the current good practices and standards for tax administrations, deliver services to taxpayers and optimally use its own human resources and knowledgeable staff to manage compliance according to risks utilizing a wide range of internal and third-party data.
At the event, Director General provided information on the history, the new systems and the value this new system and amalgamation will bring to Belize. She emphasized on the approval by the Fiscal Affairs Department (FAD) in October 2014 for technical assistance.
The Financial Secretary Mr. Joseph Waight spoke on behalf of the Government of Belize and expressed gratitude to the program team, congratulating them on a wonderful start in charting the way to achieving tax modernization in Belize.
Lisa Clare, the Deputy General with responsibility for Policy & Programs, discussed the functionality of the system and the fact that the launch is only the beginning of changes. The overall modernization will be done in a phased approach over the next few years. The department will also improve its education outreach on taxes to meet school children where learning is often more effective.
The objective of this program is to strengthen institutional reforms in tax administration. Also, in January 2018, on the request of the Government of Belize, a Caribbean Regional Technical Assistance Center (CARTAC) mission was deployed to assess the current operations and technology systems that support tax administration in Belize and provide guidance and advice to support the decision process to evaluate alternative technology solutions for the Tax Administration’s operations.
Today marked the beginning of the implementation which will conclude in 2022. There will also continue to be assistance from CARTAC to support the Government of Belize’s medium-term action plan to Modernize Revenue Administration since it will bring greater efficiency, productivity, efficiency, compliance and ultimately better collections to achieve government’s commitment to Belizeans.
The Belize Tax Service Department will introduce significant changes in legal, organizational, operational and technology frameworks for administering taxes in Belize. Of key importance, however, is the behavioural shifts expected as the organization will continue to train its people to become the tax professionals of the future with a new mission, vision, and values.