Interpreting taxation laws

GEORGE Goundar, owner and managing director of Goundar Shipping Ltd says, he is having problems with how the authorities interpret the laws on how taxation is done.

“Last year 2017-2018 there was a duty concession on shipping for goods for the vessel,” he said.

Mr Goundar was directing a question to Attorney-General and Minister for Economy Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum during the budget consultation for members of the private sector in Suva last Tuesday.

“But lately we got a new vessel and we got held up by Customs; how do we interpret the law on what is exempt. It’s regarding spare parts and consumables, but the budget only says for spare parts; things like light bulbs, filters are not exempt and we’ve been told to pay 32 per cent duty,” Mr Goundar said.

“For the last five-six years I’ve been paying five per cent but this year I’m charged 32 per cent,” he said.

The shipowner said they were confused when the budget said they were exempt.

The A-G responded saying the interpretation of the laws relating to taxation was done by Fiji Revenue and Customs Service (FRCS).

“There may be times when there’s an anomaly or ambiguity other than what the policy intended,” Mr Sayed-Khaiyum said.

He asked Mr Goundar to lodge his submission for further consideration.

Meanwhile, Mr Goundar also thanked the Government for the tax holidays and the duty exemption on new ships coming into Fiji during the six years they had been in operation.

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