25th September 2017
It’s perhaps well known that in Fiji, tax evasion has been a bit of an issue, with a number of businesses evading payments for years. However, authorities in the country have certainly cemented their commitment to halting fraudulent activity with a number of new measures being implemented. This includes passing the Tax Administration (Amendment) (No.2) Bill 2017 earlier this month which seeks to amend the Tax Administration Act 2009.
Supermarkets in Fiji tax investigation
With such a focus on tackling tax fraud, it comes as no surprise that there have been numerous reports of local firms facing investigation, the most recent of which includes three major supermarkets.
While under Fiji laws the businesses cannot be publicly named during the investigation, it has been suggested that these firms are the equivalent of Tesco, Asda and Sainsbury’s in the UK. The Fiji Revenue and Customs Service has apparently launched these inquiries following the revelation earlier this year that another leading supermarket was millions in arrears due to tax evasion.
Those currently under investigation have reportedly been using sophisticated methods in order to reduce tax payments, including disconnecting cash registers from servers so takings can be pocketed by senior members of staff.
A local news outlet, FBC News, featured an interview with the Revenue and Customs chief executive, Visvanath Das, in which it was suggested that the non-compliance could amount to a sum worth roughly $50m for each supermarket.
Authorities taking a no-nonsense approach
Given that the fraudulent activity could be costing Fiji such a significant amount, it’s no surprise to note that the Fiji Revenue and Customs is coming down hard on those breaking the law. Those found guilty of such an offence will not only be made to pay back the lost taxes, but will also face either a penalty up to twenty-five thousand dollars or a ten-year jail term.
According to Das, authorities are also looking to bring legislative amendments to allow wrong doers to be ‘named and shamed’, adding the potential to damage a company’s brand to the list of punishments.
Another example of hard-hitting approaches
These reports really do demonstrate that Fiji is extremely serious about tackling tax evasion, but it’s not the only country coming down hard on fraudulent activity. As we’ve mentioned in most of our blogs, authorities across the globe are investing resources in a worldwide crack-down on tax evasion and we can certainly expect to see more similar reports in the near future.
For any recruitment firm operating across borders, compliance with local laws is a must, so why not partner with an expert to ensure you remain on the right side of the law.