NINETY seven companies in Fiji owe the government about $40million in tax revenue.
Highlighting the result of a recent audit by the Fiji Revenue and Customs Authority (FRCA), CEO Jitoko Tikolevu said they would ensure they recovered this money by December this year.
"The year 2012-2013 has seen a major improvement, however, companies need to take more responsibility towards tax compliance given the lower tax rates and self-assessment and PAYE final tax regimes," Mr Tikolevu told this newspaper.
He said FRCA was placing more trust in the taxpayer community to voluntarily comply.
"If taxpayers choose to be non-compliant, then the authority will have no choice but apply its statutory powers to recover taxes owed.
"There is a 20 per cent late lodgement penalty for not lodging various tax returns on time and a further 5 per cent compounding interest for each month of default. There is a 25 per cent late payment penalty for non-payment of tax obligations on time and thereafter, a compounding penalty of 5 per cent for each month of delayed payment."
He said non-compliance could also result in a maximum fine of $15,000 or imprisonment for a term of 12 months or both fine and imprisonment.
"The authority has also entered into MOUs with government and statutory bodies with regards to tax compliance certifications whereby any company bidding for tenders are required to submit tax compliance certification if they are to be considered for any contract awards."
He said financial institutions were also partnering with FRCA and requiring tax compliance certifications for applications for new loans, additional loans or transfer of loans, refinancing and other financial instruments.
"FRCA is also conducting special compliance audits for value added tax (VAT), pay as you earn (PAYE), fringe benefit tax (FBT) and service turnover tax (STT)."
He said non-compliance penalties ranged from 20 per cent to 100 per cent depending on the nature of the discrepancy.