Fiji

Individual - Tax administration

Last reviewed - 14 July 2020

The Tax Administration Act (TAA) was promulgated with the stated intention of harmonising the administration of the various tax laws, including income tax and VAT. CGT, FBT, STT, and ECAL are also covered by the provisions of the TAA.

If a due date falls on a Saturday, Sunday, or holiday, the due date is the last working day before the due date except when the documents are lodged electronically.

Effective 1 April 2020, any penalty payable in respect of any failure by a taxpayer to file a tax return by the due date is deemed to have been waived if the due date falls on a date within the amnesty period i.e., the period commencing on and from 31 March 2020 to 31 December 2020.

Taxable period

The taxable year for the individual is the calendar year.

Tax returns

Personal income tax returns for the immediately preceding year must be lodged by 31 March each year. However, under the Tax Agent Lodgement Programme, an extension of time may be granted to lodge the income tax returns.

Effective 1 April 2020, any penalty payable in respect of any failure by a taxpayer to file a tax return by the due date is deemed to have been waived if the due date falls on a date within the amnesty period i.e., the period commencing on and from 31 March 2020 to 31 December 2020.

Employees are no longer required to lodge income tax returns in certain cases (e.g. employee has only one employer during the year and appropriate PAYE taxes have been deducted).

Payment of tax

There is income tax withholding from salaries (i.e. PAYE final withholding tax).PAYE final withholding tax shall be a final tax for certain employees.

Generally, if taxpayers have sizable income not subject to PAYE final withholding tax, they will be required to make provisional payments of estimated tax in three instalments.

Advance tax payments for the 2020 tax year are due in nine equal instalments which are due at the end of each month from April to December 2020.

The TAA provides the tax authorities with various means to collect taxes including, but not limited to:

  • Departure Prohibition Order: A departure prohibition order may be used by the tax office to prevent taxpayers from leaving the country without settling outstanding taxes.
  • Garnishee orders: The tax office may garnishee bank accounts for outstanding taxes.
  • Registration of charges on personal and real properties of the taxpayer.
  • Distress and sale of personal property.
  • Temporary closure of business.

Penalties

Some of the administrative penalties under the TAA are as follows:

  • Failure to register: Every person who fails to apply for registration as required pursuant to the Act commits an offence against the Act and will, on conviction, be liable to a fine not exceeding 50% of the tax payable where the delay does not exceed six months; or a fine not exceeding the tax payable where the delay exceeds six months.
  • Late filing of a return or any document required by a tax law: A registered person who fails to lodge a tax return (or any document required by a tax law) is liable for a penalty of 20% of the tax payable in the case where tax is payable and a penalty of 5% of the tax payable for every month of default. In any other case, a penalty of $1 per day applies. Effective 1 April 2020, any penalty payable in respect of any failure by a taxpayer to file a tax return by the due date is deemed to have been waived if the due date falls on a date within the amnesty period i.e., the period commencing on and from 31 March 2020 to 31 December 2020.
  • Late payment of tax payable: Where any tax remains unpaid on the expiry of the due date, a penalty of 25% of the unpaid tax in respect of that taxable period will apply.
  • Failure to comply with the late payment penalty: Every person who fails to comply with the late payment penalty is liable for penalty of 5% of the unpaid tax for each month of default.
  • Failure to maintain proper records: A registered person who fails to keep, retain, or maintain account, documents, or records is liable for a penalty of 75% (knowingly or recklessly made) or 20% (in other cases).
  • Insufficient payment of advance taxes: An individual taxpayer may be required to make advance payment of taxes. Where such an individual taxpayer makes advance tax payments less than the required amount per instalment is liable to a penalty of 40% of the shortfall. For the 2020 tax year, no penalties are expected to be imposed in the case where an individual taxpayer does not make sufficient advance tax payments.   

Taxpayers adopting a position contrary to a public ruling or a private ruling will not be regarded as having a reasonably arguable position (unless the ruling is held to be incorrect).

A taxpayer who, without reasonable excuse, makes any declaration in any tax return that is false or misleading in any material particular or omits from any tax return or declaration any matter or thing required to be made in the tax return commits an offence and is liable to a fine not exceeding FJD 250,000.

A tax agent is liable to a fine not exceeding FJD 50,000 and/or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding ten years if the tax agent:

  • prepares, presents, or causes to be prepared or presented as genuine any document that is not in fact a genuine document or that is false or misleading in any material particular
  • makes any entry in any document required to be produced under any tax law that is false and misleading in any material particular
  • makes in any oral declaration to a tax officer or in any document produced to a tax officer any statement that is false or misleading in any material particular or produces or delivers to a tax officer any declaration or document containing any such statement, or
  • omits from a statement made to a tax officer any matter or thing without which the statement is false or misleading in a material particular.

Every Fijian citizen or resident, whether liable for tax or not, should apply for a Taxpayer Identification Number (TIN).

Every taxpayer who conducts a business must notify the tax authority in writing of any changes in information within 21 days of change.

A taxpayer who, without reasonable excuse, fails to apply for a TIN or to notify the tax authority of changes commits an offence and would be liable for a fine not exceeding FJD 25,000 and/or imprisonment of up to ten years.

It is an offence (with penalties of up to FJD 25,000 in fines and/or up to ten years imprisonment) for a taxpayer to charge incorrect tax or fail to charge tax as required by law.

The tax authority can issue an infringement notice where it has reason to believe that a person has committed a prescribed offence.

Tax audit process

The FRCS undertakes on-going compliance activities to ensure taxpayers are meeting their tax obligations. Compliance activities take various forms, including questionnaires, reviews of specific issues, and audits.

Statute of limitations

Generally, the tax authority may issue amended notices of assessment at any time. Previously, there was a six-year limitation except in certain cases (e.g. fraud).