Govt. defends tax plans
Prime Minister, Tuilaepa Sa’ilele Malielegaoi, has dismissed claims that the plan to tax church Ministers is ‘double taxing’ the working population of Samoa.
Speaking to the media, Tuilaepa said such thinking is wrong.
He said the taxpayers should not be worry about the money they are giving to the church Ministers. He reiterated that paying taxes is your contribution to the development of your country.
He said there are people who will not pay taxes and its legal because those people are making $12,000 and less.
The same goes for the Church Ministers, if they make $12,000 or less.
According to Tuilaepa, there are numerous church ministers who are paying taxes because they work.
He said if the bill becomes law, the churches should consider a committee to determine how much the Pastor should pay in taxes.
Told that this cannot be monitored and that there is a risk of some churches not being truthful with the taxes, the Prime Minister said there are ways to monitor it.
He added that it would be an embarrassment for a Church Minister to be caught cheating his taxes.
Tuilaepa insisted that Church Ministers are members of the public and they should pay taxes.
“What do you expect? You want to walk on the road breaking it with how heavy your body is, yet you don't want to contribute to assist in the development of the roads?”
Tuilaepa also denied reports that Cabinet has approved an increase to the Value Added Goods and Services Tax (V.A.G.S.T).