SUNBIZ

Tax Officers Told To Approach Taxpayers With Caution

Tax officers were yesterday cautioned to relook into the way they approach taxpayers. The Attorney-General and Minister for Economy, Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum, stressed this during the Pacific Island Tax Administrators Association
15 Sep 2016 12:05
Tax Officers Told To Approach Taxpayers With Caution
Caution

Tax officers were yesterday cautioned to relook into the way they approach taxpayers.

The Attorney-General and Minister for Economy, Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum, stressed this during the Pacific Island Tax Administrators Association 13 Heads Meeting.

The two-day meeting is being held at the InterContinental Fiji Golf Resort & Spa.

Mr Sayed-Khaiyum emphasised that it was imperative tax officers understood that taxpayers are their customers.

“They (taxpayers) are not someone you (tax officers) go around with a sledge hammer and deal with,” he stated.

He highlighted that unfortunately in Fijian experiences in some instances, this had been the case when it was not even necessary to do so.

Granted, Mr Sayed-Khaiyum said there are a lot of people who are non-compliant and who do avoid taxes.

“But the fact of the matter is there are people who do want to pay taxes, who do want to have a plan in order to be able to pay their taxes,” he said.

“These taxpayers may have inadvertently overlooked things and they are willing to pay but they need to have a plan.”

Mr Sayed-Khaiyum said they have received feedback where some of the tax officers, particularly outside Suva, approach companies and force them or threaten them to pay.

“They (tax officers) threaten them (taxpayers) that they need the money because they need to meet their target or budget,” he said.

“That is not a very good reason for me as a taxpayer to pay just because the tax officer needs to meet his budget.”

The Minister stressed for the need to ensure tax administrations partner with the taxpayers.

“Of course those who don’t want to partner, go to them with a sledge hammer – there is no problem with that,” Mr Sayed-Khaiyum said figuratively.

“But invariably, you will find that 90 per cent of the people do want to pay the taxes but they want you to have an understanding of their situation.”

Edited by: Rachna Lal

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