MIRA’s board to discuss accepting payments in local currency

The Maldives Inland Revenue Authority’s (MIRA) board has yet to decide whether to follow a directive from the Finance Ministry to accept tax payments in local currency, Haveeru reports.

A MIRA official explained that laws such as the Tourism Act and Tourism Goods and Services Tax Act stipulated that payments must be made in US dollars.

“The services for which payments can be legally charged with the local currency will be charged accordingly from today, like the Airport Service Tax. It is stated that this tax can be charged in local currency. Also, some agreements do not specify a particular currency and so if both sides agree fees under such agreements will also be received in Rufiyaa,” the official told Haveeru.

MIRA board member Abbas Adil Riza meanwhile said that “MIRA’s administrative employees will follow the board’s instructions and not directives of the Finance Ministry. We are trying to implement laws.”

In a bid to alleviate the acute dollar shortage affecting the country, cabinet decided last week that all fees and taxes collected by the government must be paid in Dhivehi rufiya.

While the Maldives Association of Construction Industries (MACI) welcomed the move, the association’s President Mohamed Ali Janah told Haveeru yesterday that the government should also find alternative sources of revenue in US dollars.

“The way I see it, the government is taking on the dollar burden previously put up with by the businesses and individuals. If so the government has to come up with alternative sources of dollar income. If the government is also to obtain dollars from the market, the shortage will increase in magnitude,” he said.