10 Oct 2018

Samoa ministers' tax arrears deducted from back accounts

6:11 pm on 10 October 2018

All legal avenues are being used to collect income tax from Samoa church ministers under a new law, the Minister of Revenue says.

Tialavea Tionisio Hunt.

Tialavea Tionisio Hunt. Photo: RNZ Pacific / Autagavaia Tipi Autagavaia

Ministers from the Congregational Christian Church are refusing to pay the tax, saying their income comes from donations and that paying tax is an affront to their faith.

The Minister for Revenue, Tialavea Tionisio Hunt, said his ministry estimated more than 250 ministers of the church owed $US2500 each in unpaid taxes for the first six months of the year.

The church ministers had been given an extension to comply but the arrears were now being deducted from their bank accounts, Tialevea said.

If payments were not recovered by the end of the year, assets such as vehicles could be seized, the minister said.

Church ministers from other denominations in the country had complied with the new tax law, he said.

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