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V.A.G.S.T. nets $133million for Govt.

Value added on goods and services (V.A.G.S.T.) was the biggest contributor to $150.3 million worth of revenue collected by the Government in the quarter of March 2018/2019. 

V.A.G.S.T. contributed $133.0 million of that total amount.

The figures are recorded in the Samoa Bureau of Statistics (S.B.S.) Financial Statistics Overview report for March 2019.

Revenue recorded a drop from December and March quarters of $36.9 million and $13.1 million respectively, the report said. 

“There were no grants recorded during the period under review and as a result, total revenue during the quarter decreased by $13.1 million compared to its corresponding quarter in 2018,” the report states. 

“Tax revenue stood at $133.0 million in the period, an increase of $16.6 million compared to March quarter 2018 and declined by 18.8 million compared to the December quarter.”

Furthermore, the report noted the major contributor to the increase in revenue was tax on goods and services with a significant increase of $7.5 million in excise as well the $4.3 million in V.A.G.S.T. 

“Private sector also shares an increase of $4.0 million in corporate taxes,” it stated. 

“Government revenues from the Other Revenue Category was relatively similar to the December 2018 quarter level at $17.3 million. 

“However, on a yearly basis, the amount went down by $9.1 million. 

“During the quarter, no revenues were recorded from fines, penalties and forfeits.” 

Other revenue such as Property income recorded a negative outturn of $1.2 million over the last 12 months whereas Sales of Goods and Services recorded a loss of $4.7 million, added the report. 

The Other Revenue Category contributed negatively to overall revenue growth at $3.1 million. 

Samoa has a V.A.G.S.T. of 15% added to the price of taxable goods and services. 

Perhaps the increase in revenue from V.A.G.S.T. is a result of two legislation tabled in parliament last year that sought to impose increase tax on particular goods.

In March 2018, the Minister of Revenue, Tialavea Tionisio Hunt tabled in parliament amendments to the Customs Tariff Act 1975 by replacing rates for tariffs for certain items with new rates. 

According to Tialavea at the time, the objective of the bill is to increase the customs tariff on turkey tails, frozen chicken cuts and lamb flaps. 

Many criticised the call to increase costs on the imported meat mainly chicken for its affordability for low income families. 

But Government was adamant that the imposed tax is to promote a healthy Samoa.  

Another bill that was tabled in the same month by Tialavea is the Excise Tax Rate Amendment Bill 2018. 

The legislation sought to increase the excise tax rates for sugary products by 3% from the then excite tax rate charged following the Government’s revenue review completed in 2016. 

It provided increase excise tax rates for certain alcoholic and alcoholic beverages such as wine.   

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