30 May 2019

Samoa church to continue defying govt tax law

4:29 pm on 30 May 2019

Ministers from the Congregational Christian Church of Samoa will continue to refuse to pay taxes despite recently enacted laws compelling them to do so.

The matter was not on the agenda for this year's national conference which ended last week and the church says policy dictates that any resolution can only be revisited after three years.

 Jubilee Church at Malua

Photo: Tipi Autagavaia

The tax issue can only be brought back for discussion during the 2021 General Assembly.

However Newsline Samoa reports the matter was still addressed in part at last week's meeting after several members wrote to the church leadership giving their full support for the stance against the government.

Retiring Chairman Reverend Elder Senara told the conference he could not say anything as the matter is now before the court but he called on the membership to be patient, to not be discouraged and to put their faith in God.

At least 20 church ministers have so far been charged under the laws that were introduced in 2018 and their cases are still continuing.

The church has also put aside $US375,000 to help with legal fees.

Congregational Christian Church of Samoa pastors

Congregational Christian Church of Samoa pastors Photo: RNZ Pacific /Autagavaia Tipi Autagavaia