Minister clears air on taxes

Employees who make $15,000 or less will no longer pay taxes.  

The change becomes effective this week. This was confirmed by Minister of Revenue, Tialavea Tionisio Hunt during an interview with the Samoa Observer. 

“Initially people who were making $12,000 were paying taxes, however it’s been approved by Cabinet that the threshold for the taxpayers has increased to $15,000 and it’s no longer $12,000. 

“People making $15,001 - $25,000 will be paying 20 percent, while those who are making more than $25,001 will pay 27 percent taxes. 

“So you see here we are not increasing taxes rather decreasing the threshold,” he said. 

According to the Minister, before, people who were making $12,000 to $15,000 were paying 10 percent, $15,001 to $20,000 were paying 20 percent and those making $20,001 paid 27 percent. 

“However that has changed and we have increased the threshold to $15,000.” 

The Minister was unclear as to what is the percentage of the workforce that is affected by the new change. 

“All I know is that majority of the workforce makes less than the set threshold for tax payers.” 

Asked as to how much money the government will lose from the new changes, the Minister was unclear. 

“Give and take and this year, the taxations of the Church Ministers is in effect,” said Tialavea. 

Asked whether the government anticipates implementing any new tax reforms and the Minister says no. 

“However that depends on Sili (Epa Tuioti-Minister of Finance) if he needs money for more developments then we will make it happen. 

“I am not scared to make bold and hard decisions. 

“Look at the end of the day, the projects that the government is working on benefits the public. 

“I have said this before, taxes are like a cycle, it’s taken from their paychecks and then it will eventually go to the projects and who benefits from the developments? 

“You will see in Parliament, on the 23rd you will hear the Members of Parliament, they will ask for developments in their counties, access roads, water shortage, village projects and who funds these projects,  the government,  where does the money come from, you and me the tax payers,” said Tialavea.  

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