5 Nov 2012

Cooks tax advisor says travel ban enforced more intensely on citizens owing taxes

9:12 am on 5 November 2012

A senior tax advisor in the Cook Islands says more citizens have been banned from travelling in recent years as a result of unpaid taxes.

The Ministry of Finance and Economic Management introduced the travel ban a decade ago to prompt people to pay their arrears.

The Ministry's acting collector of revenue Philip Eyre says the tax collector is making a more conscious effort to enforce the ban.

"What's happened more recently is the current collector has taken the view that there's a prohibition and a piece of legislation in place that can be used. And we should be using it more to make tax payers aware that they can't fly around the world on business and taking personal holidays and not addressing their tax issues."

Philip Eyre says as of June the 30th, companies and individuals in the Cook Islands owe more than 17 million US dollars in unpaid taxes, almost a quarter of the government's annual tax revenue.