Business

Finance ministry clears up vehicle duty concession confusion

TELL Claudienne

Sunday, October 22, 2017

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Dear Claudienne,

I am writing to you regarding a long-standing issue with the Ministry of Finance (MOF).

My vehicle, a Suzuki Grand Vitara, was stolen by gunmen while entering my gate, November 20, 2014. As a vice-principal at the time, I got a 20 per cent duty concession from the MOF in November 2012. Unfortunately, the vehicle was stolen before the three-year concession period had expired.

The ministry informed me that in order to waive the outstanding duties, I should submit the report from the insurance company, the C87 form that Stewart's Auto Sales used to clear the vehicle at Customs, and a letter stating how the incident occurred including a request for the outstanding duties to be waived.

The first set of documents were delivered at the reception desk at the MOF on December 29, 2014. Since then I have visited and made several calls to their office, only to be told that it is on the system and that it is with an officer being addressed.

Following this I have resubmitted the documents on two further occasions addressed to the MOF, firstly on March 14, 2015 and then on March 14, 2017. Every time I call the office, I get the same response: that it is with an officer.

Up to this point I have not received any response acknowledging receipt of my documents and official confirmation of whether my request for the outstanding duties to be waived has been granted. If my request has been denied I would like to know what the outstanding duties are so that I can settle the matter once and for all.

As if the process of having my car stolen at gunpoint was not sufficient anguish, the painstaking process to bring closure to this matter with the Ministry of Finance lasting nearly three years has only added to frustration.

Your help would be greatly appreciated to bring this matter to a swift and final resolution.

SM

Dear SM,

We have been in communication with the MOF about your problem.

The same day we forwarded your e-mail to the communications manager at the MOF she replied as follows:

“Further to your e-mail on even date, please see the chronicling of the events as logged, which have been unearthed as I walked the matter through:

1) SM received a duty concession in January 2013.

2) SM retired from the public service in the capacity of vice-principal, in May 2013.

3) On December 29, 2014, a letter was delivered to the Ministry of Finance regarding a request for waiver on outstanding duties to be paid on concession as the vehicle was stolen.

4) On March 14, 2017, a letter was addressed to the Hon Audley Shaw, CD, MP, Minister of Finance and the Public Service, therein contained an insurance report (insurers Marathon Insurance) and a police report. The letter requested that the concession be lifted as the Suzuki Grand Vitara for which the concession was granted was stolen.

5) On June 6, 2017, the director of the Tax Relief Unit spoke with SM via telephone and noted the outcome of the discussion.

I am awaiting a further discussion with the director on this matter, as the data has been pulled from the logs and files.

I will update as soon as I have met with the director.”

On September 28 we got another e-mail from the communications manager at the MOF.

The e-mail stated that:

“SM spoke with the director today in my presence, and SM recalled their conversation in June of this year (as it was a three-way conference call). At the end of the telecom, SM advised that what she wanted was a letter stating that she is not liable (does not owe) to the Government of Jamaica. The Tax Policy Division will furnish her with a letter accordingly. She further indicated that she has settled with the insurance company and was able to secure another vehicle.

SM apologised for the miscommunication. She promised to visit the office of the Tax Policy Division for cordiality sake.”

We note your explanation for the inaccuracies in your e-mail to us.

You said that in the three-way conversation you became confused as you did not know the name or position of one of the persons speaking to you.

We also note that a letter you have received dated September 28 stated that the 20 per cent duty concession you received effective November 21 was for five years.

“Accordingly, you have no financial obligation to the Government, for the purpose of the 20 per cent duty concession that was granted on November 21, 2012,” the letter stated.

All the best.

Have a problem with a store, utility or company? Telephone 936-9436 or write to: Tell Claudienne c/o Sunday Finance, Jamaica Observer, 40-42 1/2 Beechwood Avenue, Kingston 5; or e-mail edwardsc@jamaicaobserver.com. Please include a contact phone number.

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