Govt. pushing for fortnightly salaries

By Ivamere Nataro 26 January 2019, 12:00AM

Salary and wage income (pay as you earn income) of employees is legally required in the legislation to be taxed in a fortnightly tax period, not weekly or monthly. 

This is according to the Ministry of Revenue’s C.E.O. Matafeo Avalisa Fatua’alii, who said this is why the Ministry is pushing to cancel weekly and monthly tax rates. 

Matafeo said the weekly and monthly rates were developed by the Inland Revenue Services (I.R.S.) back in the early 1990's, to accommodate the requests from large companies, who have weekly paid casual employees and monthly paid management employees. 

“Also it was done at that time as to assist the employers comply with the new PAYE tax requirements at the time. The final PAYE tax was newly introduced and applied from 1990,” she told the Sunday Samoan. 

“So, it’s been 29 years since this PAYE system was introduced and we thought our employers should be well versed by now with the calculation of PAYE tax using fortnightly tax rates. Understandably, some people are always negative about changes and always put up obstructions against changes."

“However, our Samoa-electronic-tax (‘SET’) has all the three templates or tax periods of weekly, fortnightly and monthly as this was originally developed in 2014 when S.E.T. was first introduced.”

Matafeo said when they changed the P.A.Y.E. tax rates in 2017 –which came into effect on January 1, 2018 – they tried to apply the legal requirement of the fortnightly tax period. 

“However, when some taxpayers complained, we decided to maintain the electronic forms only on the ‘SET’ of the three tax periods and use it as an incentive – to encourage the employers/taxpayers to register online to use the SET PAYE forms – and therefore qualify to use the appropriate form for his/her business needs."

“Our tax legislations require all taxpayers to use statutory tax forms – that have been specifically developed for tax returns – for ease and consistency of application and administration by the tax administrations. These forms are free of charge and can be downloaded from our website or uplift from I.R.S. office.”

The Ministry has information on how to register on their SET service, and once you have registered it allows you to file and also pay your tax returns on line, including viewing your tax statements. 

By Ivamere Nataro 26 January 2019, 12:00AM
Samoa Observer

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