Tax dollar impact

TAXES are a mandatory financial charge or levy imposed upon by the government in every country in order to fund various public goods and services.

A failure to pay, or evasion of or resistance to taxation, is punishable by law.

With higher tax collections not necessarily meaning high tax rates, the government is able to widen the scope of budget expenditures in social development programs and projects and improve the quality of basic services, thus providing more economic benefits and raising the standard of living for every Fijians.

This week we highlight the goods and services and facilities provided by the Government as a result of the taxes you pay.

We believe that such awareness is important as it enhances tax compliance especially as taxpayers get to know the impact of their tax dollars on our economy and our fellow Fijians.

The Government has to have money to pay for public goods and services that each of us use.

The Fijian Government in the recent years has introduced initiatives like the free bus fare scheme, free education, free medicine scheme, social welfare payments whereby recipients are now receiving food voucher as well as cash, tertiary education scholarship and loan scheme, free water and electricity scheme and others to assist students, elderly and the needy in our society.

The taxes that we pay also funds the country’s infrastructure such as roads, water supply, jetties, bridges, parks, hospitals and offices which we all use daily.

That’s why it is vital for all of us to pay our taxes on time. Not only it is our civic duty to pay taxes, but it is our legal obligation as well.

When we do not pay our fair share of taxes, we are depriving other Fijians of the service and quality of life they deserve as Fiji citizens.

The Fiji Revenue and Customs Service in the past few years has introduced several voluntary compliance initiatives to encourage taxpayers to come forward and declare their true income and thus pay their fair share of taxes. We are extending our trust in Fijian taxpayers and expect a reciprocal behaviour.

Voluntary compliance

We encourage all businesses and individuals who are unsure of any tax regulation or change, payment deadlines and processes to visit our office for assistance. Revenue and Customs is here to work with you.

We understand the subject of tax can be scary for many people, but we want to change that mind-set and help members of the public, understand the rules they must follow within the given timeline, so that together we can all help grow Fiji.

While Revenue & Customs is encouraging self-assessment and voluntary compliance, we are disappointed with the extent that some businesses and individuals will go to abuse the system.

The Revenue and Customs officers will continue to be on the ground carrying out routine inspection so it is in your best interest to be tax compliant.

We are actively engaging with and providing information to individuals, businesses and sectoral agencies as we focus our efforts on encouraging and supporting voluntary compliance in Fiji.

Despite the many public awareness campaigns, amnesty programs, support services and media coverage on voluntary compliance, some taxpayers are still running away from their tax obligations.

Those found engaging in such behaviour will face the full brunt of the law.

Stakeholder engagement

The Fiji Revenue and Customs Service has held a number of forums to assist taxpayers and advise stakeholders on the importance of filing their tax returns correctly and on time.

The sectors that were part of these forums are construction, tourism, supermarkets, hardware companies, real estate sector and retailers.

The CEO of the Revenue and Customs was in Savusavu and Labasa a few weeks ago to advise taxpayers about the work done by its officers and also to hear about the issues that the taxpayers are facing.

In line with its corporate intent, the Revenue and Customs is now actively engaging with its stakeholders to educate and assist them with their tax obligations.

Taxpayer education services

Taxpayer education is the bridge, linking the Revenue and Customs to its stakeholders and is a key tool to transforming the tax culture in Fiji.

Failure to understand taxation leads to non-compliant behaviour among taxpayers.

Most taxpayers want to do the right thing and pay their fair share of tax however because of the lack of information and awareness, people do not comply with tax and customs regulations.

At the Fiji Revenue and Customs Service we strongly emphasise the need to strike a balance between revenue and service goals.

Taxpayer education is an important enabler in any efficient tax administration.

Our stakeholders should be able to understand the tax rules and these tax rules should be simple and clear in order to enhance tax compliance.

Apart from the stakeholder forums, the Revenue and Customs is also proactively engaging and visiting business houses to educate them on their tax obligation and at the same time assisting them to file their tax returns correctly and on time.

This proactive engagement is being complimented with tools such as an online platform where taxpayers can update their details and raise their queries online from the comfort of their homes via the MySay and myInfo portals on the Fiji Revenue and Customs Service newly revamped website www.frcs.org.fj

Taxpayers can use these portals to update their current details as well as enquire about any queries they have.

Online tax payments

We wish to remind our taxpayers that they can also pay their taxes online.

We do understand that time is valuable and as such have come up with the initiative for online payments.

Taxpayers can use online/Internet banking through ANZ, BSP or Westpac Bank for any tax payment.

However, taxpayers must register for internet banking with their respective banks to use the bill pay system.

Those who still choose to visit our cashiers for payment, please be advised of EFTPOS payment options together with credit card payment facilities are available at our service centers.

You can always call our Call Center on 1326 or email us your queries on info@frcs.org.fj

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