September 1, 2016 1:56 pm

148 VAT complaints this year, council urges compliance

Since the beginning of the year, the Consumer Council of Fiji has handled 148 Value Added Tax (VAT) related issues. The Council’s chief executive officer, Premila Kumar said the recent landmark ruling by the High Court over the non-compliance of VAT reduction by the Data Bureau served as a warning to businesses who fail to […]

Since the beginning of the year, the Consumer Council of Fiji has handled 148 Value Added Tax (VAT) related issues.

Consumer Council warns traders to charge correct VAT on items sold.
Consumer Council warns traders to charge correct VAT on items sold.

The Council’s chief executive officer, Premila Kumar said the recent landmark ruling by the High Court over the non-compliance of VAT reduction by the Data Bureau served as a warning to businesses who fail to comply to the VAT Decree.

KUMAR: “The Ruling is indeed a victory for Fijian consumers considering that unscrupulous traders /service providers have been failing to pass on VAT or duty reductions to the consumers when announced by the Government during National Budgets as an effort to address high cost of living. Any reduction in VAT or duty must translate into savings for consumers.The Council has been working closely with Fiji Revenue & Customs Authority and Fiji Commerce Commission in exposing such notorious businesses that fail to apply 9 per cent VAT rate or pass on the duty reductions announced by the Government on the specific goods and services.”

Mrs Kumar said the Council has also referred 31 VAT related complaints to the FRCA for the same period.

The Data Bureau  charged 32 customers for credit checks in January at rates that did not incorporate VAT reduction from 15 to 9 per cent as announced in the 2016 National Budget and thus the Data Bureau was fined $25,000 on 22 January 2016. An additional penalty of $100,000 was copped after it did not pay the fine within the 21 days required.

The Bureau then appealed the action taken by the FRCA and the Minister for Economy, Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum.

This appeal for constitutional redress was then quashed by the High Court and Mrs Kumar said the ruling was a warning to traders and service providers that continued to profit through incorrect VAT charges.