In recent months the Jamaican tax authority Inland Revenue Department has been cracking down on high earning individuals who are not filing taxes. Not surprisingly those lists of individuals contain a number or entertainers who are earning millions annually.
Over the last month we saw the tax department cracking down on Elephant Man and Bounty Killer alleging they owe millions in unpaid taxes. Which lead us to ask the question, why are Jamaican entertainers tax delinquent?
There are two clear reasons as to why entertainers are delinquent in filing their taxes. Firstly, some entertainment personalities is of the view that the government is not doing anything for the entertainment sector, so why should they pay taxes out of their hard earn money. But that goes much further than that, which we will address in another post.
Dancehall deejay Bounty Killer whose real name is Rodney Pryce recently chastised the government for not spending any of the tax dollars on the entertainment sector or for dancehall to be exact, which could be the reasons the tax man is after him. His words were:
“I don’t see any development of the government towards music. An aspiring artiste cannot get a loan to assist in getting a demo done. When you burst (buss) the taxman after you. At least some percentage must go back towards the revenue it come from.” Bounty said at a press conference after his solid performance at Reggae Sumfest 2010.
Second and most obvious reason is the lack of fairness among tax payers in Jamaica. For far too long only working class individuals shared the bulk of the tax burden, while high earning individuals including entertainers, entrepreneurs, doctors and lawyers etc pocket their earnings. So it is definitely not entertainers alone who are being tax delinquent.
Dancehall HipHop does not condone the issue of not paying taxes, because we think tax is a necessary evil that everyone should pay their fair share. But we don’t support the targeting of entertainers who happens to be a part of a long list of individuals that are tax delinquent. The tax department should show us that theirs not some sort of bias against entertainers.