WAITING for that three-sentence letter stating your tax identification number will no longer take you hours, days or even a month.
Fiji Revenue Customs Authority head honcho Jitoko Tikolevu said it would now only take about 10 minutes for individual taxpayers or up to six hours for companies that had foreign directors.
"It's all about service delivery and simplifying business processes," he said.
And after years of requests from the business community, FRCA has also extended the life of the certificate of exemption, which was being issued every month. It will now have a life of six months, 12 months for the "good" taxpayers and 15 months for the 20 individuals, companies who are members of the Gold Club, which Mr Tikolevu emphasised is not a "rich men's club". The club members would be accorded the red carpet treatment as a reward for being a good taxpayer. For example, if they are travelling overseas, they would be treated as VIPs at the Nadi International Airport, Mr Tikolevu said.
You and I as individual taxpayers, could also be in this club, but membership is at FRCA's discretion. Mr Tikolevu said they had identified another 16 to join this club.
"Before, taxpayers would have to come to our office every month to renew the certificate, they will now only come after six months, 12 months or 15 months," he said.
The certificate is issued to taxpayers who would prefer to pay the 15 per cent provisional tax later. The benefits to businesses include better cash flow in the short term.
FRCA is also now operating 24 hours, seven days a week at the Suva wharf. Eventually, this service would extend to other ports. Mr Tikolevu said in the past those wishing to clear their cargo from the wharf could not do so on weekends or on public holidays.
"As long as they pay their duty by 4pm Friday, they can clear their cargo during the weekend," he said.
However, he cautioned, there were other agencies such as Biosecurity Authority of Fiji and the Health Ministry whose approvals may be needed for certain cargo.
While all these new initiatives are to improve services and assist taxpayers, Mr Tikolevu, as a committed tax man has thrown a word of caution- don't deny the government coffers of its dues because tax evasion can now land you in the corrections facilities.