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'Grossly unfair'

Dawn Gibson
Friday, February 14, 2014

DOUBLE taxation agreements (DTA) between Fiji and Australia have been deemed "one-sided".

In a press conference this week, Attorney-General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum said the DTA with Australia was different to the one Fiji had with India.

"The Indian DTA has been quite generous , what I want to highlight is that the DTA with Australia is, in fact, very much one-sided," Mr Sayed-Khaiyum said.

"The withholding tax for example — a non-resident dividend withholding tax — with Indians it's 15 per cent, with the Australians it has been 20 per cent and, in fact, if you look at the withholding tax that the Australians have agreed to with other countries, bigger countries and other jurisdictions, it's also 15 per cent."

He noted that specifically with Fiji, the percentage was higher.

"And in 1995 the tax pairing provisions also dropped out. The Australians have refused to have the tax pairing provision.

"The tax pairing provision means, for example, if you have an Australian investor come to Fiji and take advantage of some of our tax free zones or reduced tax rates, they don't pay tax to us, but the Australians don't recognise this so when they go back to Australia, they have to pay tax on that income that's derived from an income that Fiji has forgone.

"That's obviously grossly unfair and I think some of these fundamental issues need to be addressed."

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