Abel highlights improvement in tax collection

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The government has made significant investment into the International Revenue Commission (IRC) resulting in improved tax collection, Deputy Prime Minister Charles Abel says.
Abel, who is also Treasurer, told The National that IRC had significantly improved tax collections over the last few years because of that investment.
“We will continue to look at that, to enable them to best capture everybody into the net,” Abel said.
He said part of that strategy would include a relatively high-powered audit taskforce that could go through businesses in a systematic manner starting at the high level to make sure that everyone was subjected to the tax laws of this country.
“There are people not paying their due taxes and we need to make sure that the IRC has got sufficient resources to capture all these people.”
Abel said that a modern tax system should be developed based on the electronic platform for people to voluntarily access and lodge their returns, backed up by an audit process to physically inspect.
He said everybody who operated a business in PNG, should have a tax file number and lodge tax returns.
“Occasionally, you may be subject to an audit to ensure that your tax returns are accurate and what you are declaring and lodging is what is actually happening,” Abel said.
He said the government was considering reforming the tax system, especially in the extractive industries to move to an output-based tax like a log export levy.
“Let’s simplify the tax system, if you take raw materials out, perhaps there is a different type of tax system that is simpler and easier to implement and get what is due to PNG,” Abel said.
“It will incentivise people to process raw materials in-country with less tax so we encourage logs and fish to be retained in PNG to create jobs and value here.
“We’ve got to look at some short and long term measures to enable a competitive and fair tax system that is not too difficult to implement.
“Our tax system has enabled some people to get away from paying tax in PNG, which is unfair to those who are responsible and pay tax.
“We don’t want to tax our people and companies too much but everybody must pay their fair share. The idea is to grow sustainably and everybody benefits,” Abel said.

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