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It’s time to sort out your taxes

Monday March 05, 2018 Written by Published in Economy

In the wake of the government’s recently passed Income Tax Amendment and VAT Amendment Bill, the job of the team at the Cook Islands Tax Amnesty Office is about to change.

With the Revenue Management Division (RMD) now remitting all tax debts and non-filed returns prior to January 1, 2010, and the tax amnesty soon to expire on March 31, Tax Amnesty Office team leader Brenda Dashwood says now is the time for people to start complying with their tax obligations.

“Before we were chasing a debt – now there is no debt.”

“The government has given taxpayers a respite. This is the time for our people that have been in trouble before and now have a clean slate, to come forward.”

Dashwood added that most of the people for whom debt has been written off haven’t filed a single return in up to 20 years.

“The debt from 2009 and backwards has been wiped – which is a huge debt, so now we can’t chase them for the debt, but we will be going back out to say, ‘Hey, you haven’t filed from 2010 to 2017 and now you need to comply’.”

“So the people that we’ll be chasing are the non-filers that have not filed; they’re not compliant.”

Dashwood says her tax amnesty team’s role will now involve going out and meeting with non-compliant taxpayers – mainly business owners, and making sure they file their returns and get up to date.

“It’s funny to think that we were going there saying, ‘You owe us $500,000, how are you going to pay it?’ Now we say, ‘Well, we’ve wiped $500,000, but you need to file your next seven years of returns’.

“Those are the people that we will have to get up to date, because otherwise in another 10 years we will be back to where we are today. They haven’t filed, they haven’t paid, they’re not doing anything.”


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