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Taxpayer Imprisoned for Non-Lodgement

06th April, 2018

In a landmark judgement, the Suva Magistrates Court has sentenced a businessman to 12 months imprisonment for failing to file Income Tax Returns and Value Added Tax (VAT) returns. 

The Ba businessman was facing six counts of failure to file Income Tax Returns and thirteen counts of failing to file Value Added Tax (VAT) returns. 

This is the first time a taxpayer has been given a jail term for failing to file tax returns. 

While sentencing Mr. Suresh Prasad, Resident Magistrate Mr. Joji Boseiwaqa said that taxpayers who evade paying taxes should not expect any mercy from the court. “This sentence should be a deterrent to any future offenders. The tax laws of this country are to be adhered to or face the penalty including custodial sentences,” the Magistrate highlighted. 

“This case is an example of how non-compliant taxpayers will be dealt with under the law. This should be a disincentive to those who even think that they can get away with beating the tax system,” Revenue and Customs Chief Executive Officer Mr. Visvanath Das said. 

“With a strong emphasis on voluntary compliance this year, Revenue and Customs is now concentrating on taxpayers who have not been compliant with their obligations. Given the low tax rates, and the economic buoyancy, if taxpayers continue to beat the tax system by being non-compliant, they will have to face the full brunt of the law”. 

Mr. Das reiterated the importance of the public seeking assistance from Revenue and Customs if they are unsure of their tax obligations. We want to further enhance tax transparency and voluntary compliance thus creating a level playing field for all taxpayers. 

“We are here to serve the public and Revenue & Customs is encouraging taxpayers who may be unsure of their tax status or obligations, to call or visit our nearest office or alternatively visit our website www.frcs.org.fj for more information.” 

“We are actively engaging and providing information to individuals, businesses and sectoral agencies as we focus our efforts on encouraging and supporting voluntary compliance in Fiji,” Mr. Das said. 

 

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For queries please contact the Stakeholder Engagement /Public Relations Department on 3243031/ 3243259.

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