The Inland Revenue Department (IRD) will be implementing a new tax refund policy this year that will see personal income tax refunds being made only via direct deposit to taxpayers’ financial institution accounts and notice of available refunds being sent only via email.
This replaces the current method of issuing refunds by physical cheques.
Prior to the new policy, taxpayers would receive notice of the refund via personal email address only — provided to the IRD by the taxpayer or representative.
The department said the new tax refund policy aligns with the mandate of the Government of St. Vincent and the Grenadines under the Caribbean Digital Transformation Project (CARDTP), to improve digital public service delivery and modernise government operations.
Under CARDTP, the government has flagged the development of citizen-facing digital government services as a key priority, to improve the user experience for citizens accessing public services and to improve the efficiency of internal government operations, the department said.
Therefore, in October 2022, the IRD launched its debit/credit card payment option for the payment of taxes and licenses at the IRD.
Also, under the CARDTP, the IRD will be procuring a new tax information management system. Additionally, later in 2024, the IRD will be launching an e-filing portal that would encourage more efficient and timely filing of returns and would eliminate the need for paper submissions. The IRD also intends, imminently, to commence the issuance of automated electronic receipts to taxpayers.
The IRD said that the previous method of issuing refunds involved the printing of paper notices, which were then delivered via post.
“Over the years, as access to technology increased and postal services became less utilised, tax refund notices were not being collected by taxpayers,” the department said.
“This has ultimately led to a high level of uncollected refund notices and unclaimed tax refunds over the years.”
The IRD estimates that 40% of refund notices go uncollected yearly, with a similar percentage of refunds being unclaimed.
“Sending tax refund notices via email, would create an immediate notification to taxpayers and limit the amount of paperwork and time needed to process refunds,” the department said.
“Additionally, the issuance of tax refunds via direct deposit will eliminate the need to travel to Kingstown to collect cheque payments, an issue that was particularly relevant to taxpayers in the Grenadines and rural districts.”
To facilitate this new refund process, the IRD is asking for taxpayers’ assistance in providing the following information:
· Full name (e.g. John F. Brown)
· Date of Birth (day, month and year)
· Current Address
· Tax Identification Number (‘TIN’)
· Email Address
· Financial institution name and account number
Taxpayers can scan the below QR Code or click this link and provide details on the form provided.
Additionally, taxpayers are advised to provide accurate and up-to-date financial institution account information and a valid email address when filing their personal income tax returns.
The IRD said the information is being requested strictly for the purpose of populating its database in order to process tax refunds through direct deposit and to issue electronic notifications.
“The IRD is confident that this new initiative will be highly beneficial to the taxpaying public and as such, anticipates the public’s co-operation and support.”