Ministry of Revenue break collection record

The Ministry of Revenue collected $507.6 million in revenue for the financial year 2017-2018, making it the highest ever collected by the Government in a financial year.

But the amount collected still fell short of the Ministry’s target of $521.6 million for that financial year. 

The mixed results were highlighted in the Ministry of Revenue’s Annual Report for the Financial Year 2017-2018. 

The report attributed the $14 million shortfall to a number of factors, including that of the church ministers not filling and paying their tax returns for that financial year. 

“For instance, the delays in implementation of some new provisions of the tax legislation, such as the six-months delay of enforcement of law on church ministers taxable income, then another six months to engage their compliance; application of amended capital gains tax is deferred – while the legislation is being reviewed along with application of stamp duty free; abolishment of investment tax credits due to investments into the tourism industry was deferred to June 30, 2018 from June 30, 2017.” 

According to the report, customs collected $326.4 million while Inland Revenue collected $176.6 million respectively.  

The Ministry for Revenue acknowledged their active involvement in the overall tax review by the National Revenue Board, which resulted in some major tax reforms that will be fully enforced in this financial year 2018-2019. 

This includes the removal of tax exemptions on church ministers provision to include envelops from performing other religious duties, which was removed due to a promise that was first conveyed during consultations. 

“The removal of tax exemption on the head of state and church ministers following the passage of the Income Tax Amendment Bill 2017 prompted the Ministry to carry out registration fieldworks in both Upolu and Savai’i. 

“A total of 643 ministers of religion were registered as of June 30, 2018 but about 48 per cent have yet to file and pay their tax return, which remains a contributing factor to exhausting the Ministry’s resources,” stated the report.

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