25 Jun 2019

1200 Cook Islanders apply to have old taxes, penalties written off

6:29 am on 25 June 2019

Nearly 1200 Cook Islands taxpayers have applied to have old taxes and penalties written off in return for agreeing to pay their main outstanding taxes.

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Photo: 123rf

The financial secretary Garth Henderson said he was pleased the eight-month amnesty allowed taxpayers with big debts to come forward and be compliant with their tax obligations in future.

As well as the US$12.7 million that the taxpayers have paid in the amnesty period, they have agreed to pay US$1.5 million more over a period of time.

A total US$8.1 million of additional tax was remitted as a result of the tax amnesty applications. This included $10.4m (US$6.8 million) in very old unpaid taxes, from before January 2010.

The government was owed nearly $US24 million in tax debt when the amnesty was announced in 2017.

The Chamber of Commerce president Fletcher Melvin said the amnesty has allowed companies some time to pay off their debts which is better and fairer on other compliant businesses than forgiving their taxes.