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Association calls for consistency

Ropate Valemei
Tuesday, November 13, 2012

THE Fiji Institute of Accountants (FIA) wants the Fiji Revenue and Customs Authority (FRCA) to apply its policies and interpretation consistently.

This was part of the FIA National Budget 2013 submission to the Ministry of Finance.

The institute president Camacakau Raimuria said FIA had noted that FRCA had changed its policies, practices and interpretation on a number of issues.

"The mechanism for challenging decisions of FRCA are simply through the tax tribunal which can be an expensive and lengthy, particularly where the matter is one of principle and the quantum of tax is not significant," said Mr Raimuria.

He said such practices only gave signals of uncertainty to businesses and discouraged further investment.

"Changes in interpretation, policies and practices by FRCA should not be introduced with backdated effect; nor be applied at the discretion of line officers, but rather by specific policy of the authority."

In accordance with its powers under the Tax Administration Decree 2010, he said FRCA should issue binding public and private rulings to ensure consistency in its practices and certainty for taxpayers and investors.

In addition, he added that FRCA should understand and not under-estimate its role in promoting investment and economic activities.

"The institute appreciates that FRCA is in the midst of various institutional review processes (including IT, transfer pricing, gold card taxpayers etc)," Mr Raimuria

He added continuing to undertake independent review of the tax administrative policies, procedures and activities to assess its impact on business activities and economic activities, and its impact on the economic development of the country is vital.

"Such reviews are carried out regularly in a number of countries with the objective of identifying difficulties and problems faced by businesses and taxpayers, with suggestions for improvements and systems and processes aimed at promoting business activities and economic growth."

Mr Raimuria said the improvement of customer service levels and internal efficiencies was also extremely important to allow business processes to be completed effectively and efficiently by relevant officers, and minimising the duplication of effort and time to attend to tax- payer matters.