Tenancy Agreements should be witnessed and stamped
The Fiji Revenue & Customs Service (FRCS) is advising all students who are under Tertiary Loans and Scholarship Scheme (TELS) and are renting out to have a tenancy agreement done and have it witnessed by a Justice of Peace (JP) or Commissioner of Oaths before bringing it to FRCS for Stamp Duty.
Once the tenancy agreement is stamped, then only students will be able to claim rent allowance.
“We will also require Taxpayer Identification Number (TIN) for Landlord and Tenants to verify that the agreement is authentic. In the past we have had issues where other TELS students were subletting flats to new students acting as landlords, parents/spouse’s renting out flats to their own children or spouses under the scheme and forging of landlords and other students’ signatures on tenancy agreements,” Chief Executive Officer Mr. Visvanath Das said. “We have also had instances where unregistered landlords were making agreements with students and not declaring rental income to FRCS”.
“The reason why we want agreements to be notarized is to deter fraud and to ensure proper execution. It is the responsibility of the JP and the Commissioner of Oath to ensure that the signatories have appeared before them and have produced proper identification. The JP or Commissioner of oath officiates at the signing and indemnifies that the documents are authentic,” the CEO added.
All student should appreciate the opportunity for education provided by TELS. We also urge all student to use TIN number as reference for any enquiries with FRCS about their account status –loan balance etc. When making repayments through direct bank deposits, students must put in the TIN number in the narration otherwise the payment will not be allocated to your account and will simply remain in unallocated funds account. Be responsible and repay your loan. Just as you were assisted for education, your repayment will make funds available for someone else.
Tertiary Scholarship and Loans Board Chief Executive Officer Mr. Bobby Maharaj has emphasized that the various Fijian Government Scholarship and Loans Scheme is aimed at assisting students who need financial assistance to realise their dream to attain tertiary, technical or vocational education. However, to benefit from these schemes, students must meet certain regulatory and policy requirements. One such requirement is for the students under Tertiary Education Loans Scheme seeking financial assistance to pay rent during the course of their studies to be stamped by FRCS before any rent allowance is paid by the students. In order to get the agreement stamped, certain other requirements as stated on this advisory needs to be met. This is aimed at ensuring that eligible Fijians benefit from the scheme while minimising the risk of any potential students/landlords engaging in improper conduct or fraudulent activities to gain financial advantage.