26 Sep 2003

IRD official in Solomons offers explanation for why some businesses did not register for tax

10:47 am on 26 September 2003

Inland revenue officials in Soloman Islands say they believe some businesses deliberately avoided paying tax in the past because they feared their money would be squandered.

A compliance manager, John Hayes, says some businesses thought it was wiser not to declare themselves as taxpayers because they believed their funds would be misused.

"Taxpayers have actually said that they didn't pay taxes because they thought the money wouldn't have been spent wisely. Someone who is now paying taxes, said to me that in one aspect thay have saved the government a lot of revenue because the money that will come in now will be wisely spent wheras, before, noone knew how it was going to be spent."

Mr Hayes says he hopes that businesses will feel confident enough to come forward and register themselves as part of the Inland Revenue Division's tax amnesty.

He says those who fail to declare themselves as taxpayers could face stiff penalties, including prosecution.