NEWS

Companies, Individuals Skipping On Taxes Are Costing Our Country

EDITORIAL: When individuals and corporates do not pay taxes, they do a great disservice to their country. It is money from those taxes that go towards capital expenditure – upgrading
26 May 2017 11:00
Companies, Individuals Skipping On Taxes Are Costing Our Country
Tax

EDITORIAL: When individuals and corporates do not pay taxes, they do a great disservice to their country.

It is money from those taxes that go towards capital expenditure – upgrading our roads, schools, hospitals amongst many, many other things.

It has been revealed by the Fiji Revenue and Customs Authority that six companies are being investigated for alleged Tax and Customs Duty evasion amounting to more than $15 million.

These six companies which are involved in import trade are allegedly undervaluing their goods to evade customs duties as well as understating their income to avoid taxes.

A number of companies are also allegedly involved in an invoicing scam.

Apart from this being a criminal offence, it is also morally wrong. People daily turn to social media to complain about infrastructure in Fiji. Everyday we hear of people complaining about the Fijian healthcare system and the types of equipment our hospitals are lacking.

But, if we are to do the right thing and pay up our fair share of taxes, it will benefit us and our children in the long run.

Every government relies on taxes. In Fiji, we have one of the lowest tax rates in the Pacific. Compared to our neighbours – Australia and New Zealand – our taxes are peanuts.

We want to receive services similar to Australia and New Zealand, but at the same time there are individuals and companies amongst us trying their level best to avoid paying their dues. Countries do not work that way.

We have been hearing so much about our national debt level. Our taxes may be a drop in the ocean, but it is and will make a difference for the service delivery in the country.

Apart from the six companies being investigated, three other companies that were under investigation for similar reasons have been investigated and have been slapped with a $25 million tax bill. These three companies who are major importers and have since paid their taxes and penalties in full.

There have also been cases where some Fijian-based companies set up business houses either in Australia or New Zealand and buy products and supplies for the business in Fiji.

However, upon further investigation it was established that the products and supplies are coming from China, but the invoices are generated in either Australia or New Zealand.

Kudos to FRCA for clamping down on such companies and getting them to cough up what they owe. Similarly, taxpayers declare huge losses on their tax returns in order to pay less tax.

This then becomes a case of not only tax evasion, but money laundering as well.

If individuals and companies have been getting away with this in the past and think they can continue to do so, they are in for a rude surprise.

Do what is right by your country and pay your dues. Or, you will get caught.

 

Feedback: jyotip@fijisun.com.fj

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