Taxing Consumption in Jamaica
In Jamaica, as in most countries, consumption taxes in the form of a value-added tax called the general consumption tax (GCT) and several excise taxes collectively known as the special consumption tax (SCT) are critically important revenue sources, accounting for 37.4 percent of total revenues in fiscal year 2003-2004 (27.7 percent for GCT alone) and an estimated 11.2 percent of GDP (8.3 percent for GCT alone). This article describes in some detail the present structure and administration of the GCT and SCT and then evaluates the performance of these taxes from several anglesâ€”their revenue effects, their distributional effects and their relation to the shadow economy, their administrative aspects, and their relation to various international considerations. It concludes by setting out a number of recommendations for reform.
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