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Supermarkets under spotlight for tax evasion

06:40 Wed Sep 13, 2017

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Report by: Rachael Nath

Three major supermarkets are under investigation for tax evasion by the Fiji Revenue and Customs Services.

In an exclusive interview with FBC News, Revenue and Customs chief executive, Visvanath Das says the non-compliance by any one of the three supermarkets could amount an average of fifty million dollars each.

Hot on the heels of the shocking revelations made a few months ago – where a prominent supermarket was found in arrears for millions in a case of tax evasion.

The Fiji Revenue and customs is now coming down hard on other supermarkets breaking the same laws.

“With one supermarket – we could do fifty million then probably you can look at bigger chains but to be more precise and accurate, it is not until investigation is completed you can say the value but all these supermarkets and also importing tax and the under evaluation trend seems to be around fifty percent.”

It seems some supermarkets have been using some very sophisticated ways of evading taxes.

“We have had a supermarket scenario, whereby in their supermarket – they have a number of cash registers and one of them may not be connected to the server and the takings from that could be ending up in the director’s account.”

Under current laws – the Fiji Revenue and Customs Services cannot name companies that are under investigation.

“We are working with the AG’s office to bring legislative amendments – so we can actually ‘Name and Shame’ of the investigation cases. We’ve already got legislation in place for VAT payers who have not lodge their VAT returns to be named and shamed."

Once the offence is discovered companies found to be evading taxes are compelled to pay the backlog in taxes after which the FRCS CEO makes a decision to either impose an additional administrative penalty or take the company to court where by the court can decide to impose a fine of twenty five thousand dollar or send the company directors to jail for ten years.

The no nonsense tax man is also auditing hardware and construction companies.

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