25th May, 2017
Six (6) companies are being investigated by the Fiji Revenue and Customs Authority (FRCS) for alleged Tax and Customs Duty evasion amounting to more than $15 million dollars.
These six companies who are involved in the 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.
“Three (3) other companies that were under investigation for similar reasons have been investigated and slapped with a $25-million-dollar tax bill. These three companies who are major importers have since paid their taxes and penalties in full”, FRCS Chief Executive Officer Mr. Visvanath Das said.
“We have also noted that in some cases these 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”, Mr. Das stressed.
“In such cases the value of invoice can be manipulated and understated to avoid duty and VAT at the border. We have also established that these Fijian based companies then remit monies to its overseas companies for payment of goods supplied when in fact these monies are being invested into properties and other activities”.
Furthermore, we have also established that for zero rated or 5 % duty rate items, the value of the goods are inflated when they are imported into Fiji as a way to siphon money of the country. Similarly, Taxpayers declare huge losses on their tax returns in order to pay less tax.
“This is happening and is under investigation because it’s not only tax evasion but money laundering as well”.
“Despite the many public awareness, amnesty programs, support services and media coverage on voluntary compliance, some taxpayers are still looking for ways to evade their tax obligations’’.
“These cases are examples of how non-compliant taxpayers were dealt with under the law and should be should be a deterrent to those who think they can get away with beating the tax system”.
Mr. Das emphasised that “Our Officers are here to serve the public and FRCS is encouraging individuals and businesses who may be unsure of their tax status or obligations, to call or visit their nearest FRCS office; or alternatively visit our website www.frcs.org.fj for more information.”
“Our aim as an institution is to enhance voluntary tax compliance in Fiji. We have our Taxpayer Education team that actually goes out and assists business who need assistance in filing their returns. It is in our interest to ensure that current and future taxpayers are educated about their rights and responsibilities and how to be tax compliant. We are actively engaging with and providing information to individuals, businesses and sectoral agencies as we focus our efforts on encouraging and supporting voluntary compliance”.
For queries please contact the Public Relations Department on 3243031/3243505.