Business

High Court rules against Data Bureau application

Hailed as a major victory for Fijian customers, the High Court has dismissed an application for constitutional redress submitted by the Data Bureau against the Fiji Revenue and Customs Authority  and the Minister for Economy, Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum. The Bureau challenged the constitutionality of Section 72(A) of the Value Added Tax Decree (“Decree”) which was amended […]

Serelisoni Moceica

August 31, 2016 12:01 pm

Hailed as a major victory for Fijian customers, the High Court has dismissed an application for constitutional redress submitted by the Data Bureau against the Fiji Revenue and Customs Authority  and the Minister for Economy, Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum.

Court rules in favour of FIRCA and Economy minister.
Court rules in favour of FIRCA and Economy minister.

The Bureau challenged the constitutionality of Section 72(A) of the Value Added Tax Decree (“Decree”) which was amended in 2015 specific to the VAT reduction from 15 to nine per cent announced by the Minister for Economy in the 2016 National Budget.

Section 72(A) states that if the percentage of VAT decreases, a registered person must sell goods and services at a price which reflects the actual percentage of any VAT decrease. Failure to comply will result in a fine not exceeding $50,000 which must be paid within 21 days of the notification.

The Data Bureau  charged 32 customers for credit checks from the period of  January 1-16 at rates that did not incorporate the VAT reduction from 15 to nine per cent as announced in the 2016 National Budget and because of this the Bureau was fined $25,000 on 22 January 2016.

The Bureau then failed to pay the fine within the required  21 days and an additional penalty of $100,000 was incurred, as stipulated by the Decree.

The High Court ruled that Section 72(A) was not unconstitutional.

SAYED-KHAIYUM: “This is a major victory for Fijian consumers, as it affirms the Government’s ability to penalise those businesses who fail to pass on the savings of any reduction to the VAT or on customs duties. Consumers are now better protected from businesses seeking to withhold potential savings, and that increases the purchasing power of the ordinary Fijians who need it most.”

What do you think? Leave a comment below.