Bid to boost amnesty take-up

Friday September 15, 2017 Written by Published in Local

Finance minister Mark Brown will be holding talks with the revenue management team to discuss ways of getting more people involved in the tax amnesty scheme.

 

The tax amnesty, which was announced last year, allows government to write off additional tax debts and forgive companies or individuals for any undeclared income.

The amnesty started on August 1 and will end on December 31. However, Brown said government was willing to make changes around the policy of managing the amnesty to ensure more people took advantage of the scheme.

“We still have a lot of work (to do) in getting people to come in so I will be having a talk to our team on what more we can do,” Brown said. “There is no doubt that some companies and individuals have taken advantage of the amnesty to write off significant penalties and reduce the amount of tax that they owed.  Some of the (reductions) have been quite significant and they have seen the benefit of it.

“I’m going to have a feedback meeting from the team from revenue management along with the Financial Secretary, and if there are things that we need to do around the policy of managing the amnesty, then I certainly want to hear about it and suggest ways of moving forward.”

In order to gain the benefit from the tax amnesty, businesses and individuals must front up at the Inland Revenue Department (IRD). Government earlier said it had made commitment to waive any additional tax imposed on companies and individuals, but individuals and business are still obliged to pay any core tax owing to the IRD.

Any penal tax imposed will not qualify to be written off during the amnesty, and neither will any fines imposed by the High Court for tax offences.

“The outcome I want at the end of the amnesty period is that the significant tax debt that is owed to the government (in millions) is reduced or removed,” Brown said.

“Some of the old debts are historical, some of them have been assessed as non-recoverable and none of it will make any difference to government revenue forecast moving forward.

“So any old debt that we collect will be a win for the government. That’s really where the focus is.”

Brown said while it might be seen as misleading to say there was no loss of revenue to the government from the tax amnesty, there was no loss of future revenues.

“As I said, any tax dollars we do collect will be a bonus for us or our country.”     

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