Established with hopes to help increase transparency and reduces the risks for fraud
By Gary Hatigeva
THE Solomon Islands Inland Revenue Department (IRD) is set to take its operations into newer heights within the fast passed electronic world.
This follows the launching of Inland Revenue’s new web based portal that was launched on Wednesday this week, which was launched with anticipations for to help IRD in its operational activities, which will allow businesses in Solomon Islands to file their tax returns electronically.
This important development will ultimately transform the entire IRD tax platforms to digital, providing for easy and efficient e-filing and e-payments.
Officials explained to Island Sun that the E-Tax is an electronic platform which allows one to manage his or her taxes online, and with this service people will be able to view their account information, file their returns, view their statements, and view overdue and upcoming return and payments.
It will also allow for people to make direct enquiries, without having to leave their business.
A description in the portal outlined that these services can be provided to people at home, office or where ever they may be at any time that suits them with just the click of a button.
In a statement on the launched portal, IRD explained that Businesses must register for an IRD online account and use their allocated IDs to electronically file Goods Tax, Sales Tax and PAYE.
The upgraded system also has a number of e-payments options that includes internet banking and EFTPOS for businesses to pay their tax obligations.
IRD says the division is also looking into the possibility of extending digital payments to mobile and app-based services in future.
Meanwhile, IRD Commissioner Joseph Dokekana highlighted that for well over a decade the IRD has been on a progressive path to modernization, and this next step is without a doubt the most exciting in the journey so far.
The IRD Commissioner stressed that in today’s world, to be modern means one has to go digital, and the digitisation of IRD’s services will bring immense value to the country in terms of improving domestic resource mobilisation, better tax compliance and ease of tax payments for our customers.
He however revealed that more services will soon be available such as income tax and withholding tax, which the IRD believes will lead to a reduction in compliance costs for a large number of Small and Medium Enterprises (SME’s) as well as large corporates, besides individuals.
The modernization process according to IRD, was funded through a grant and technical support provided by the United Nation’s Pacific Financial Inclusion Programme (PFIP), whose Technical Specialist Abigail Chang, explained that digitization increases efficiency, transparency and reduces the risk for fraud.
“It can also help to achieve a higher rate of tax compliance, meets broader national financial inclusion objectives besides contributing to achieving a number of the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals,” she added.
In the coming months, IRD, in partnership with PFIP will conduct a series of customer education seminars, workshops, including site visits to assist tax payers in sign up, usage and adopt of the new digital interface.
The Department also announced that these new services are the first of two phases in the Ministry’s goal to modernise the Solomon Islands taxation system.
The project has received financial support from the Governments of Australia and New Zealand.