BY BARNABAS MANEBONA
SOLOMON Islands Inland Revenue Division (IRD) wishes to make it clear that they did not ‘give in’ to demands by the Honiara public transport associations with regard to the Income Tax to be imposed on buses and taxis.
This is according to statement by the Commissioner of IRD Mr Joseph Dokekana responding to a certain individual that IRD has given in to demands during meeting with the Honiara public transport associations Committee last week Friday.
Dokekana admits that there was one very important error that IRD had made which warrants reassessments, but still within the limits of the law.
Having said that, IRD’s Commissioner said the meeting was very cordial as IRD has clearly expressed to the interim committee that it’s time for buses and taxis’ operators to pay tax.
“As this is the first time that owners are being taxed on their income, it was an opportunity for the associations to ask IRD how they had come to the amounts of tax that it intended to charge.
“IRD has clearly explained to the interim committee how Income Tax applies to all businesses including bus and taxi owners.
“The associations accepted the frankness and fairness of IRD’s decision and acknowledged IRD’s efforts to come to resolve the issue. Part of the problem has been a lack of communication from both parties in a more constructive way and IRD accepts some responsibilities for this,” state IRD’s Commissioner.
Starting from 2018 and onward, IRD confirms that the transport businesses will lodge tax returns to reflect what they earn as required by law.
“As reported, IRD is intending to run training sessions for all transport business owners so they know how to keep records and fill in their Income Tax return.
“We are also willing to conduct these educational sessions on tax for other businesses. Feel free to contact our Tax education team on [email protected] or by phone on 21493.
“IRD always conduct compliance activities on small businesses such as for example on lock-up shops. We will be approaching these shops in the near future and IRD suggests that owners of these shops can come and talk to us now so we can help them meet their tax obligations,” states IRD’s Commissioner.
Dokekana is very impressed by the positive views expressed by the public and also in social media contributing to why taxpayers need to pay tax including bus and taxi operators. This is a positive perspective in terms of tax compliance is concerned as there are a number of businesses and taxpayers who are yet to submit their tax returns and make payments.
IRD’s Commissioner would like to appeal to those who are yet to pay their tax or lodge their tax returns to do so.
The Commissioner reminds and assures too that his Officers are always available to assist all customers with their tax obligations.
Public transport business owners in Honiara and from East and West Guadalcanal had staged a sit-in protest last week Friday in the Capital over the issue of enforcement on Income Tax implemented for public transport services which is now solved.