The following directives have been received from Customs today. VCCI has been asked to pass this information on to you asap:
As part of our COVID-19, Alert 3 response initiatives, some of the following measures will be introduced:
- Encourage taxpayers who have the ability to file VAT returns and pay on-time to voluntary come forward and do the right and legal things always as required by the laws;
- Strengthen and foster the working partnerships and cooperation with all licensed Tax Agents, Customers Brokers, Accountants, Professionals and our business Partners;
- The acceleration of tax refunds (VAT and other taxes) where taxpayers are owed money and this will be subject to careful limitation of refund fraud risks;
- More flexible debt payment repayment plans will be introduced to allow businesses with cashflow problems – base on a case-by-case basis – focus on the principal amounts due with clear terms and conditions entered into, a taxpayer has to send an official request to DCIR;
- We are currently advising against any deferral of VAT – implying a shift in the timing of tax liability without incurring additional penalties, however on a case-by-case basis, late payment penalties can be waived – this will be equivalent to late payment penalties waiver to support businesses. However, late payment interests will be still payable according to the Tax Administration Act No. 37 of 2018; a taxpayer has to send an official request to DCIR;
- Encourage Taxpayers / Importers / Exporters to file tax returns, SADs “on time” to avoid late filing fees – e.g. VAT returns can be filed via email and payments made through the designated Government banks accounts online – refer to Public Notices issued, the VAT returns and payments can be submitted and filed at our Offices physically, use of Private Mail Bag 9012 / Vanuatu Post Ltd and use of our drop-box facilities and taxpayers must still observe the Public Health precautionary measures, COVID-19 protocols at all times;
- We are still awaiting Government official, policy directives and measures on other “Fees & Charges and Taxes” – more communications forthcoming and
- Overall, tax measures to support businesses should consider a country’s level of economic development – the national Government did announced its decision for the third wave/phase for the Economic Stimulus package and roll out plans and we are all still awaiting the details.
We do expect all taxpayers who are severely affected to write officially to the Department and request assistances should that be case and provide their evidences/justifications as to how they were severely affected.
The Department is prepared to work with sectors/industries and taxpayers who are currently active VAT registrants in ensuring they rightfully and legally meet their tax obligations at all times during these difficult times. Our intention is to work with the businesses and provide the level of supports, assistances and work together to overcome the current situation and hope for the better moving forward.
The VCCI team