Passed Bill Names And Shames Tax Evaders

Fiji Sun - - Fiji Today - LOSIRENE LACANIVALU Edited by Kar­alaini Waqanidrola losirene.lacanivalu@fi­jisun.com.fj

Com­pa­nies whose an­nual turnover is more than $1.5mil­lion will be named and shamed if they are found to have made an at­tempt to evade taxes or fail to com­ply with Fiji’s tax laws.

A Bill to amend the Fiji Rev­enue and Cus­toms Act was passed in Par­lia­ment yes­ter­day to al­low the nam­ing and sham­ing of such com­pa­nies.

It was passed de­spite Na­tional Fed­er­a­tion Party leader Bi­man Prasad’s at­tempt to have the amend­ment de­layed, to give peo­ple ‘af­fected’ by it time. Act­ing Prime Min­is­ter and At­tor­ney-Gen­eral Aiyaz SayedKhaiyum moved the mo­tion to amend the Fiji Rev­enue and Cus­toms Service Bill and bring about the change that com­pa­nies whose an­nual turnover is more than $1.5mil­lion should be named and shamed if they fail to pay their taxes. Mr Sayed-Khaiyum high­lighted that one of the four top ac­count­ing firms in Fiji had been im­pli­cated in such cases as well and that this should not be con­doned.

He said it is through this Bill, the Fi­jian Gov­ern­ment in­tro­duces the “Name and Shame” leg­isla­tive pro­vi­sions to pub­licly iden­tify and pub­lish the names of per­sons or com­pa­nies who in­ten­tion­ally avoid pay­ing the right taxes due. Mr Sayed-Khaiyum said the idea is to ex­pose these en­ti­ties in pub­lic in or­der to shame them into com­pli­ance and in turn de­ter and dis­cour­age others from en­gag­ing in sim­i­lar ac­tiv­i­ties. He said nam­ing and sham­ing can of course de­stroy a com­pany’s rep­u­ta­tion and in­flu­ence the de­ci­sions of cus­tomers, sup­pli­ers, fi­nanciers and other stake­hold­ers do­ing busi­ness with the com­pany. Mr Sayed-Khaiyum said re­cently one of the banks in Fiji, did not want to do busi­ness with a com­pany which was given a tax as­sess­ment and penalty in ac­cess of $50 mil­lion. How­ever, Mr Prasad said he may sup­port the amend­ment if it comes in the Fe­bru­ary sit­ting. He said the big busi­nesses who will need to con­form with this law should be given time to get their books in or­der. Mr Sayed-Khaiyum ar­gued that Gov­ern­ment had been work­ing since 2007 to get such busi­ness houses to pay their cor­rect taxes and two amnesties had also been given.

He said many of the busi­nesses have been given amnesty but a num­ber of them con­tin­ued to break the law be­cause there was a cul­ture of ‘greed’. Mr Sayed-Khaiyum said there was a cul­ture of ac­count­ing firms do­ing what­ever their clients wanted, with­out ethics.

He said Gov­ern­ment agreed that most tax pay­ers in Fiji were com­pli­ant, and this was why such a bill was to be passed.

A-G said it is through this Bill, the Fi­jian Gov­ern­ment in­tro­duces the “Name and Shame” leg­isla­tive pro­vi­sions to pub­licly iden­tify and pub­lish the names of per­sons or com­pa­nies who in­ten­tion­ally avoid pay­ing the right taxes due

Photo: Vil­imoni Va­ganalau

Act­ing Prime Min­is­ter Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum out­side Par­lia­ment on Septem­ber 15, 2017.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Fiji

© PressReader. All rights reserved.