MIRA formulates policy for enforcement agencies

The Maldives Inland Revenue Authority (MIRA) has formulated and published on its website the official policy (Dhivehi) for taking action against persons or companies with unpaid taxes, fees, rents, royalties or other monies owed to the state.

Under the approved guidelines for the relevant authorities to take measures against non-compliers, the government could refuse to provide services, cease business transactions and refuse to award contracts for the persons or companies with dues to the state.

Exceptions to the first rule however include basic services provided by the government and services provided by one state institution to the other.

The authorities empowered to take the punitive measures and enforce the policy include the Economic Ministry, Finance Ministry, Transport Ministry, Male’ City Council, Maldives Customs Service and the Department of Immigration.

While the policy will be in effect from November 1, 2012, for the first six months the enforcement agencies should refuse to provide services only to companies that owe monies to the particular authority. However, from May 1, 2013, the relevant authorities would be required to check if the company or person owes monies to MIRA.

The exceptions however do not apply to the Maldives Custom Service and Department of Immigration during the first stage of implementation.

Meanwhile, earlier this month, MIRA began enforcing its policy on ‘Freezing Bank Accounts of Taxpayers’ with unpaid taxes, fees, rents, royalties and other monies owed to the state.

“Since publishing the policy, taxpayers were given a grace period of 1 month to settle all outstanding dues. The process for account freezing has been commenced for 37 taxpayers for failure to settle the dues in the given grace period, and the details sent to relevant authorities to freeze the bank accounts of five of these taxpayers, as of 8 October 2012. Some taxpayers who issued dishonoured cheques were also among those who will have their bank accounts frozen. The total owing from these dishonoured cheques amounts to MVR 450,000 (US$29,182),” reads a news item from MIRA.

Moreover, MIRA has filed a number of cases at the Civil Court to enforce judgments over unpaid rent and fines imposed for late or non-payment.


Visa fees to be paid in 3 month lump sum

Recruitment agencies are newly required to pay visa fees for expatriate workers for at least three months, according to new policies at Maldives Inland Revenue Authority (MIRA).

The visa fees of Rf250 were previously payable every month. Under the new policy, agencies will be required to submit at least Rf750 when making payments, Haveeru reports.

A MIRA authority told Haveeru that the policy was designed by the Immigration Department.

Recruitment agencies expressed concern over the policy change, allegedly because of the difficulty of providing larger sums of money at once. Others have claimed that it’s a waste of money on workers who are imported for a single month of work.


Cabinet to decide on matters that could result in the public paying fees

Government offices have been asked by the President’s office to propose any services that could result in the public paying fees or charges.

The President’s Office asked that any information regarding the matters proposed should not be made public until the Cabinet has made its final decision on the matter.

All government offices were also instructed all government offices to execute the Cabinet’s decision on the matter once the decision has been made.

The President’s Office has instructed all government offices to propose any matters that could result in public paying any fee or charge, to the Cabinet through the line ministry. The President’s Office made the instruction in a directive issued today.

The directive state that any information regarding the matters proposed the Cabinet should not be made public before the Cabinet issues a final decision on the matter.

The directive issued by the President’s Office also instruct all government departments to execute the decisions of the Cabinet once the President’s Office informs the relevant ministries of the decision.