The number of national taxpayers will likely increase with the rollout of a digital tax system through the Ministry of Finance and Treasury’s Inland Revenue Division.
The modernised tax system is expected to bring in 123,000 wage and salary employees, 200 corporate taxpayers, and more than 3,000 businesses.
“Digitisation of the system will make it easy for people to come forward and register for tax,” Inland Revenue Division Commissioner Joseph Dokekana said. “At the same time, it will make their lives easier for business people to pay their taxes without standing up in a long queue like they are experiencing at the moment.”
The new system will involve a transition from manual to digital processing. Payments, receipt generation and services for goods and sales taxes and other tax types will be available through the online system by the end of the year. Online services for income tax will be available next year.
“When this new system comes in, our group will go out to businesses, communities and go to working people so that they understand how to use those online services,” Mr Dokekana said.
The IRD education team will hold seminars for businesses and public awareness events to introduce the digital system and explain tax obligations. Taxpayers not connected to formal financial services will be encouraged to open bank accounts that can be used for e-payments.
According to Mr Dokekana, the government is considering ways to cover some of the costs taxpayers might incur through the new system.
Mobile access options and notification systems are also being evaluated as additions to online services, he said.
IRD currently collects 60 percent of the government’s revenue. Mr Dokekana hopes the new system will streamline the collection process and prompt voluntary compliance.
And he said the public needs to understand that tax dollars support hospitals, schools and other services in the country.
“It is really fundamental for government to collect revenue to run those services,” he said. “Without that, government collapse.”
By Merinda Valley