PM: We’re taxing smarter, not harder

Fiji's Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama responds to a question during the business luncheon with the Victorian business community at the Crown Towers in Melbourne, Australia, (Saturday, May 26, 2018). Picture: SUPPLIED/Fiji Government

GOVERNMENT is taxing smarter, not harder, cutting the tax burden on working Fijian families and bringing tax rates to the lowest point in Fijian history.

This was highlighted by Prime Minister in his recent 49-page address to former Fijians, potential investors and Australian businesses at a business event in Melbourne, Australia.
With tax revenue expected to surpass $3 billion this year, Mr Bainimarama said Fiji’s tax revenue had tripled since 2005.
He said Government had achieved that, not by instituting harsher taxes, but by enforcing better compliance and making our systems of taxation fairer, more transparent and more efficient.
“Corporate tax has been dropped from 31 per cent to 20 per cent, the income tax threshold has raised from 8,840 dollars to 30,000 dollars, meaning more low-income families have been freed from paying income tax entirely.
“We’ve dropped VAT to nine per cent and we’ve completely done away with the dividend tax.”
But even with all those cuts, Mr Bainimarama said Fijians were walking away with bigger pay checks and more money in their pockets.
Meanwhile, net VAT collections grew on an annual basis by 20.1 per cent (to $187.5m) in the March quarter, driven by increases from other Government departments and domestic collections (Graph 11).
This was noted by the Reserve Bank of Fiji (RBF) in its Quarterly Review for the month of March released recently.
PAY as You Earn (PAYE) collections dropped by 20.5 per cent to $35.4 million in the first quarter of 2018 compared with the 13.3 per cent growth in the same period last year.
According to the central bank, the decline in PAYE collections which is a partial indicator of disposable income was largely attributed to the increase in the income tax threshold from $16,000 to $30,000 as per the FY2017/2018 National Budget policy.

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