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Name And Shame For Tax Cheats

Name And Shame For Tax Cheats
Fiji Revenue and Customs Service chief executive officer, Visvanath Das in Nadi on September 1, 2017.Photo: Arieta Vakasukawaqa.
September 02
13:59 2017

Tax defrauders will soon be named publicly under the Name and Shame tag.

With that, the Fiji Revenue and Customs Service expects to collect more than $250 million following fraud investigations early this year.

Fiji Revenue and Customs Service chief executive officer, Visvanath Das, disclosed this on Friday dur­ing the Fiji Institute of Accountants 2017–2018 Budget Symposium at the Fiji National University Campus in Namaka, Nadi.

“We are looking into bringing in legislation where we can actually publicly name the tax defrauders,” Mr Das said.

“At the moment we are not able to put names of people and businesses who have defrauded the Fiji Rev­enue and Customs Service,” he said.

“We cannot publicly name which tax agents or accounting firms that have aided and abetted in carrying out tax fraud.

“The legislation should allow us to make public announcements whereby we release the names of people and/or the companies.”

Mr Das then related a case if legislation was in place, where recently, a supermarket chain was found defrauding the Government of $53 million tax.

“When we bring that ‘Name and Shame’ law, we can say this is the company and this is the accountant who has aided and abetted creditors by $20 million.”

Mr Das said the new legislation is being formulated and has come about through the more stringent and proper audits and checks on businesses.

“Also if you look at the Fijian economy of which one third is black, Government initiatives are aimed at getting businesses to voluntarily comply with the tax laws,” he said.

“The $250 million we are looking at raising this year through fraud investigations show we are strengthening the penalties.

“The formulation of the legislation Name and Shame,  would really act as a deterrence.”

Mr Das asked business houses and the Fiji Institute of Accountants members present from the western division about instances when accounts were being prepared and debts were being over-stated by $20 million to reduce the creditors’ tax bill.

“What is your professional conduct? What is your verification process? How do you do that?” he asked.

“If the accounting fraternity is saying we are checking, then what is the checking methodology?”

Mr Das said certain companies were actually creating invoices when dealing with Value Added Tax (VAT) where no transaction or buying had taken place.

“With computer technology, you can create company invoices and that is happening.”

Mr Das said Fiji Revenue and Customs Service were stepping up another level in auditing and people caught would be taken to task.

Edited by Karalaini Waqanidrola


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