20 Jan 2015

Fiji tax drive "to plug revenue hole"

12:06 pm on 20 January 2015

A Fiji economist says he suspects a current drive by the tax department to collect money from locals with undeclared offshore assets is to plug a massive hole in revenue.

The Fiji Revenue and Customs Authority has announced a six month amnesty for those with undeclared assets to come clean, saying it is collecting information from countries Fiji shares a double tax agreement with.

Wadan Narsey says many Fijians would have offshore assets, and the authority is looking to try and recoup revenue lost in significant tax cuts a couple of years ago.

"The government two years ago reduced corporate tax from 30 percent to well below 20 percent, and income tax at the highest level has also been reduced from 30 percent down to 20 percent. So this has created a huge hole in the revenue base of FRCA, which they're trying to plug in every way they can."

Wadan Narsey says more needs to be done to increase long-term economic growth in Fiji to avoid problems with the revenue shortage

The Fiji Revenue and Customs Authority did not respond to requests for comment.

FBC news reports the authority says offshore assets include salaries or wages, foreign investment funds, trust funds, property rental income, board fees and any transaction through which an income was earned.