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.


Inland Revenue to recover unpaid debts

The newly instituted Maldives Inland Revenue Authority (MIRA) has undertaken efforts to recover debts and monies owed to the government by various parties.

Commissioner General of Taxation Yazeed Mohamed told newspaper Haveeru that the debts include fees, royalties and rent from 45 different sectors.

While MIRA was working with relevant government authorities to recover the debts, Yazeed said “necessary measures” would be taken from 2011 onward if dialogue and other procedures fail.

The Commissioner General did not reveal the amount being sought by the government.

However, an audit report of the former Department of Inland Revenue released in October 2009 revealed that it had failed to collect over Rf1.1 billion (US$85.6 million) in unpaid taxes, fines and resort rent.

“As a result of the department’s inadequate efforts to collect unpaid taxes, as of 31 July 2009, the government has not received Rf117 million (US$9.1 million) in unpaid taxes and fines and none of these monies has been received as of 30 September 2009,” it reads.