RELECTIVE REPORT & PORTFOLIO
COURSE: Work Experience (WOEP 3100)
Work experience is critical when it comes to developing your professional and development skills and it is also not limited to adolescents. It can be beneficial for career changers and those looking to re-enter the workforce. Additionally, it can be beneficial for college students who wish to gain an understanding of what to look for when entering the world of work or a particular professional field. This course provided an opportunity for my colleagues and I to complete an assignment requiring us to retain at least eighty (80) hours of work experience in our field of study. Throughout this reflective report and portfolio, I will reflect on the hands-on experience I gained during my three (3) weeks as a taxpayer officer with the Inland Revenue department of the Ministry of Finance in Grand Turk.
An Overview of the Inland Revenue Department
The Financial Control Unit was established between 1998-99. This department was restructured in March 2002 in efforts to enhance revenue collection by administering the ordinances in an efficient and effective manner and renamed from the Financial Control Unit to the Revenue Control Unit relinquishing some expenditure oversite to the Accountant General’s Department.
The Unit was headed by the Revenue Controller and was supposed to be supported by the Deputy Revenue Controller and at least Senior and Revenue Officers. The Revenue Control Unit made a historic move in April 2004 with the introduction of a Standard Integrated Government Tax Administration System which is more commonly referred to as SIGTAS. SIGTAS converted TCIG’s revenue collection and reporting from a manual to a semi-digital process.
Further to recommendations adopted from the European Union’s Assessment for a Comprehensive Tax Reform Strategy in November 2010 the Revenue Department implemented several initiatives reforming some policies, protocol and legislation but more notably initiated the process of converting the Business License and Taxation process to an almost completely digital process.
As such, it is anticipated that by the end of the 2020/2021 Financial Year, Customers will be able to remotely make application for, renew or amend a Business License and make payment online and within a year after, file and remit taxes payments online.
The department was renamed the Inland Revenue Department late this year with Major Revenue Streams.
There are currently five (5) sales-type taxes in the tax system of the Turks and Caicos Islands. These taxes are imposed on various sectors such as tourism, financial and telecommunication and are administered by the Revenue Department. The Department is also responsible for administration of the Business License program.
Administration of the following revenue streams:
· Business License
· Communication Tax
· Domestic Financial Services Sales Tax
· Hotel and Tourism Tax
· Insurance Premium Sales Tax
· Seaport Departure Tax
· Vehicle Hire Stamp Duty
Oversight responsibility for other revenue generating and collecting department.
Mission & Vision Statement
To administer the statutes regarding public finances in an efficient and equitable manner; to monitor and control revenue for the development of the islands by promoting voluntary compliance in a manner that warrants the highest degree of public confidence in our integrity, efficiency and fairness.
Functions of the Inland Revenue Department
· To monitor, manage and supervise public revenue collections;
· To process business licenses, monitor reports or assess delinquents;
· To verify and assess all tax returns and general revenue on a regular basis; and to ensure that all assessments are processed and issued for collection;
· To conduct Operational Audits to improve Inter-department revenue collection
· Assist Revenue Departments’ Finance Officers with arrears collections
· To conduct field audits and report findings; and
· To provide MOF with custom reports as needed on the status of revenue collection
· Revenue Generating Departments Operational Audits
· Revenue Generating Departments Arrears Collections
· Internal Compliance
· External Audit
WORK EXPERIENCE REFLECTIVE REPORT
Mrs. Hilda Caley –Assistant Commissioner, Inland Revenue Department
Ministry of Finance Investment and Trade
Wilma House, Grand Turk
Turks and Caicos Islands
MINISTRY: Ministry of Finance DEPARTMENT: Inland Revenue
SECTION: Tax Payer Services/Enrollment/Enquiries/PR LOCATION: Grand Turk
TITLE: Tax Officer
IMMEDIATE SUPERVISOR: TPS Senior Tax Officer (Directly)
Assistant Commissioner of Revenues (Indirectly)
Deputy Commissioner of Revenue (Indirectly)
Commissioner of Revenues (Indirectly)
SUBORDINATE STAFF: 0
KEY DUTIES AND RESPONSIBILITIES:
1. Provide Support to Business License Processing:
a. Vet, Capture or update applications on SIGTAS
b. Generate receipts for new applications and renewals
c. Assist with conducting verification on information, inspection and compliance activities
d. Maintain a log outstanding incomplete applications.
e. Follow-up on outstanding attachments to incomplete applications/close unresolvable pending applications
f. Handling of certificates – (print, seal, emboss, log. file, distribute, etc)
2. Customer Services & enquiries:
a. Attend to the front desk
b. Distribute forms & educational materials
c. Resolve queries (telephone & email)
d. Prepare and distribute taxpayer notifications
e. Pass leads to Officer responsible for cross section communication
f. Reconcile Accounts
g. Assist with the organization of the Annual Taxpayer’s Education Day
h. Generate and distribute remittance forms and assessment notices
3. Generate work-plan, activity, compliance diary and other reports
4. Maintain the following reports:
a. Application Status Manual Report
b. Registration Log
c. De-Registration Log
d. Cancellation Log
e. Tax Roll
Liaises with other government agencies and the private sector:
5. Liaises with the Financial Services Commission, NIB, Police, Planning, Environmental Health & DEMA, etc for clearances & verifications.
6. Ensure timely submission of work plans, activity reports and quarterly reporting contributions
Any other duties that may be assigned from time to time
The Officer is deemed to be performing his/her duties effectively when:
i) Business License Processes are completed in a timely manner
ii) Registers are consistently maintained
iii) PR material is widely circulated
iv) Enquiries are handled in an accurate and timely manner
Internal: Environmental Health, Planning Department, National Insurance Board, Police Department, DEMA, Financial Services Commission, Ministry of Finance etc
External: TCHTA, Property Managers, Businesses & Stakeholders, etc
Supervision received: Officer will work under the close supervision of Assistant Commissioner Taxpayer Services.
Supervision given: Nil
Independence of action, authority and decision making: The Officer has set authority boundaries as outlined in the TPS Procedures Manual and will revert to his/her Supervisor for decision making matters.
Accountability – scope and impact: The Officer is required to be knowledgeable with the relevant revenue ordinances and will assist their supervisor with recommendations for amendments as deemed necessary for the effective administration of the Section.
KNOWLEDGE, SKILLS AND COMPETENCE:
· Planning skills
· Excellent verbal and written communication skills
· Excellent analytical and deductive skills
· Negotiation skills
· Excellent report writing skills
· Researching skills
· Legal interpretation skills
· Excellent computational skills
· Excellent interpersonal skills
· Excellent Computer skills
· Presentation & Training skills
· Excellent time management
Hours of work: The Officer is required to work the hours prescribed in the Public Service Ordinance. The Officer may also be requested to work extended hours to meet urgent obligations.
Physical environment and/or risks associated with the job: Hostile customers and/or taxpayers can pose a physical threat.
Tools and equipment required to do the job:
The following resources are normally utilized in the performance of duties:
· Computer (Microsoft Office, Internet, SIGTAS, Smart Stream, Email)
Knowledge base and personal skill set evolved during my Work Experience.
The Turks and Caicos Islands Government’s Inland Department offered me the opportunity to complete my work experience over the previous few weeks, and as a result, I gained valuable information in the Taxpayers/Accounting area. I have over twenty-five (25) years of Civil Service experience, all with the Inland Revenue Department, where I spent the majority of my time in the Taxpayer Service division. My pleasure has been to receive customer service training. As a result of the knowledge and skills gained through this work experience, I now have a more complete understanding of this department and am better able to connect the dots as a result of observing how each unit is dependent on the others. Personally, I’ve observed that no department operates in a vacuum, and that communication, the sharing of relevant info, support, and dedication all contribute to the department’s success.
New knowledge and skills are relevant to my academic studies and future career goals.
I am currently pursuing a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration with a concentration in Financial Management. As a result of my working experience, the new knowledge and experience gained prompted me to complete my Bachelor’s Degree in Financial Management and to further my education by pursuing a Master’s Degree in the same field. Additionally, it is possible that the new knowledge and abilities I have acquired will assist me in completing related tasks and responsibilities that may be assigned to me in the course of my future career opportunities.
Strengths and Weaknesses that were uncovered by the experience and how will I improve on them.
Participating in the work experience I was able to revealed some of my strengths and weaknesses. I got better at my communicating with others which help to be a strong sense of camaraderie among coworkers, can manage working under pressure and also being a great team Player. I believe that encouraging and inspiring others will greatly help us. Acknowledging those as some of my strengths, however I also recognize that I do have some weaknesses in certain areas one being the misleading image of the job areas and failing to recognize the challenges they were experiencing. I also learned that I need to make an effort to communicate with individuals more effectively and consistently, as well as engage in much more group activities, in order to guarantee that my strengths will not become my weaknesses in the end.
How my thinking about career choices has been influenced by the work experience?
By partaking in this work experience, I was able to broaden my perspective on career options, as being able to work and concentrate more on daily tasks encouraged me to further educate myself on the job and improve my standards and experience. Additionally, it enabled me to demonstrate support to staff, and providing consistent customer service during this time of distress made a significant difference in a variety of situations.
Observations about the organizations and professional roles and norms
The Inland Revenue Department is a division of the Ministry of Finance, and it is responsible for the collection of revenue for the country’s government. The department is not organized like a typical government administration; rather, it is focused on tax collecting, compliance, and auditing activities. Employees are being trained in order to participate in any of the aforementioned activities. This organization, which employs over twenty-five persons on the islands of Grand Turk and Providenciales, is closely monitored by the Commissioner of Revenue and the management team, which makes the majority of decisions before passing them down to the line staff for implementation. There are, however, some semi-democratic situations in which employees provide feedback and input prior to major decisions being implemented.
How did the work experience change your view of yourself and contribute to your professional development?
By engaging in this work experience, I believe I obtained a greater grasp of the job and what it genuinely includes, which enhanced my knowledge, skills, and professional development, as well as an appreciation for the critical nature of assignment completion on time. It clarified how and why the Inland Revenue Department is vital to the Ministry of Finance and the Government of the Turks and Caicos Islands. Additionally, I gained knowledge and experience interacting with others and resolving internal and external conflict, as well as the capacity to engage with individuals while remaining confident in my decision-making.
What knowledge and skills (new or enhanced) were developed?
Throughout my work experience, I’ve learned knowledge and skills such as the ability to work collaboratively on a group project, improved my strong work ethics, the ability to be attentive and punctual, as well as customer service and communication abilities.
How did the work experience affect your academic or career plans?
Being able to engage in this work experience impacted my academic and career goals favorably since the new knowledge and skills I obtained, as well as the experience itself, pushed me to apply what I learned on the job and also to teach others. This not only increased my confidence, but also pushed me to set higher expectations and professional goals, believing that the things I’ve acknowledged on this work experience have enabled me to make a significant contribution in these specific areas of the workplace.
How did you think, feel and act in a professional setting and how did others in that setting
think, feel and act toward you? What insights did you gain into your attitudes, values and
Having already gained the necessary professional abilities for the working world as an employee of the Turks and Caicos Islands Government’s Inland Revenue Department. I’ve earned a newfound regard for our staff’s work, having gained a greater understanding of how their work is frequently time-sensitive and requires a high level of accountability. Senior officers in the department demonstrated and pushed me to participate in activities throughout each area that I would not have had the opportunity to do otherwise, so better preparing me for future growth.
Reflect on your approach to problem resolution in organizations. Explain the cause of any problem experienced and each step used to resolve it.
The Turks and Caicos Islands Government Sector has a Public Service and Code of Ethics Handbook. When issues arise, personnel must follow the principles and processes outlined in both handbooks to ensure that the issue is resolved professionally. If an issue emerges that neither handbook addresses, staff are encouraged to use their problem-solving abilities to come up with the best solution.
How could you have benefitted more from the work experience program?
This work experience provided me with an incredible opportunity to learn and grow within the department, which was extremely valuable to my growth; with the added information and insight obtained from this experience, I am confident that I am better equipped for any future problems. Also I strongly believed I could have gained much more, but due to the strict controls and restrictions imposed by COVID-19, I was unable to gain hands-on experience with the Providenciales division, which manages the majority of the work.
Provide at least three examples of how workplace performance improved by accepting feedback or suggestions from workplace supervisors or others.
Throughout my work experience, I was given the opportunity to participate in a senior tax officer position, which made me feel good to receive critical feedback from my supervisor/s, as I realized that the success of other areas in the department was contingent on the completion of work completed from this position. One of the duties assigned to me as an acting senior tax officer was to sit in on an audit and contribute my thoughts and ideas to the report of the findings and any recommendations. This is a continuous, daily function of the department’s audit section that requires constant attention and aids in the preparation of these approvals. The deputy commissioner and assistant commissioners provided advice on how to meet demand while remaining focused and committed to the job. Given that not all taxpayers will be targeted, proper records of critical documents should be filed in a cabinet or other storage location. As a result, she emphasized the relevance of immediate communication with taxpayers in ensuring the audit’s success.
Analyze how teamwork skills contributed to the success of the work experience, and analyze how teamwork by all workers affected the productivity at the work site.
Given that the Inland Revenue department is known for its three divisions (Taxpayers, Compliance, and Audit), the organization is tasked with tasks that require teamwork, collaboration, and decision-making, all of which I believe are vital in any organization. These tasks were completed more efficiently and accurately due to effective communication, comprehension, and reliability.
Discuss whether you would recommend this organization to continue in the WE program
With Finance being one of the most popular running courses in the Turks and Caicos Islands Community College’s Course in Business Administration program, an organization of this excellent reputation. I believe that the Inland Revenue Department, as a division of the Ministry of Finance, is an ideal place for a work experience program. This organization has a variety of departments to which an intern can be assigned and covers a variety of fields from a financial standpoint. I would recommend this department to anyone interested in improving their skills and expanding their educational opportunities.
My time at the Inland Revenue Department was fruitful and satisfying. I was able to get a wealth of important information that I was previously unaware of and was quite appreciative of the lessons learned and the aid received along the road. Additionally, I am able to express my view on decision-making processes that would offer some alternative approaches for effectively improving procedures such as the compilation and submission of department monthly reports, as well as ensuring that payment calculations and receipts were accurate.
Personal Qualities, Professional and Technical Skills Developed through Work Experience
Within this work experience, I was able to develop the following personal characteristics, professional and technical skills: Assisting with time management and responses to efficiently meeting deadlines that are critical to the position or to others, always remaining patient and courteous in the face of criticism, and finally, it improved my communication skills when interacting with customers inside or outside the organization.
For the Government of Turks and Caicos Islands, the Inland Revenue Department is responsible for the collection of revenue from various tax categories and business license fees.
From what I observed despite the numerous progressively incapacitating variables affecting revenue administration globally, this department continues to endeavor to ensure that revenue generation and sustainability receive the attention they deserve through its strategic and operational goals.
On a daily basis, I also observed that the Inland Revenue Department’s goal is to satisfy their clients, and by continually upgrading and improving their services to the public, the Department’s strategic initiatives will result in the TCI IRD becoming a transformed, modern, and highly efficient and effective tax department.
Speculations, questions and predictions
Given the opportunity to serve as an intern in the Inland Revenue Department allowed me to ask questions about the office’s daily operations, such as:
· Are they considering computerizing all of their data in future development plans?
· How is it that a Business Licensee must rely on the Financial Services Commission to obtain clearance for a firm name in order to register a business?
The movement from a paper based filing system within the department to a computerized system will help to improve efficiency and work productivity not only to the employees but also to the customers.
Evidence of developing self-awareness
Working as an intern in the Inland Revenue department allowed me to focus on other objectives and projects by putting the knowledge gained throughout my studies into reality. It did not take long for me to interact with staff who walked me through difficult tasks associated with professional customer service.
Connections between personal experience and new information – what new knowledge has been gained?
I had the opportunity to work as a Senior Tax Officer during my work experience, which was extremely beneficial and educational. It reinforced my sense of belonging in the position, particularly when making financial decisions. I was able to gain knowledge about submitting annual reports and budget reports, entering critical information into the system that allows you to print Business License Certificates, and also signing off on important files.
Description of how participating in the work experience assisted with development & transition plan for completing school & entering the workplace
Having had the opportunity to work in the Inland Revenue Department has aided me significantly in making my decision to remain focus in the financial field. Working in one of the most unique departments in the Turks and Caicos Islands Government enables me to put academic concepts and theories into practice, while being assigned the daily responsibilities of a senior tax officer provides me with the best teachable moments and learning experiences. I can now assert that I am better prepared, capable, and positioned for future success since this is my final year of my Bachelor of Business Administration degree.
SWOT Analysis of Agency
The Inland Revenue Department has a number of strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats they include:
· Good working relationship with the various government department (Team Work).
· Encourages the growth within the TCI private sector.
· Clear working structure.
· Lack of stuff which leaves staff feeling overwhelmed.
· Staff not motivated.
· Inadequate technological resources, continues to deal with a large number of paper-based documents.
· TCI’s Training and Development Unit which is responsible for providing relevant training to government employees.
· International Training programs such as CARTAC
· Internal Seminars and training programs.
· Tourism’s reliance on the government results in financial stability.
Several recommendations I would make to assist the Inland Revenue Department in improving their work environment include the following:
· To implement a technological system that allows for the storage of files on a database, thereby reducing the amount of paper used. Additionally, this system will save time compared to searching for files in a filing cabinet.
· Because staff is overwhelmed as a result of being understaffed, I believe the department should consider hiring additional employees.