30 August 2019 Apia Samoa. The Ministry of Revenue have today circulated a press release regarding the ongoing issue of the Congregational Christian Church of Samoa’s stand off with regards to tax legislation enacted by Parliament.
In Court yesterday the Ministry withdrew charges against EFKS church Ministers which led many to believe that the Government had taken a change of heart in relation to taxing clergy.
Today the Ministry says that wish to clear the misconceptions arising as a result of yesterday’s court proceedings.
The Commissioner of Revenue Matafeo Avalisa Viali-Fautua’alii saya it is crucial to note that the decision to withdraw the charges against the ministers of religion yesterday should not be taken to mean that the Ministry and Government would be reconsidering current tax laws.
“It is important to note that with cases of this nature where ministers of religion are involved, emotions are high in the struggle between our spiritual faith and the concepts of fairness and just that we strive to achieve,” says the Commissioner.
According to the press statement, the tax cases for ministers of religion orginally brought forth by internal legal counsel have now been transferred to the Office of the Attorney General.
“As such, the Ministry made an application to withdraw the charges in anticipation of future charges that will be filed on the advice of the Office of the Attorney General,” clarifies Matafeo.
“As the only denomination who opposes the tax law, the Ministry and the Office of the Attorney General will continue to work collaboratively in future court proceedings against ministers of religion who do not fulfill their tax obligations under the tax law.”
The Commissioner of Revenue saya that any decision by the Court is the Court’s prerogative; and this does not stop the enforcement work of the Ministry and the Office of the Attorney General.
“I trust this clarifies the Ministry’s position,” adds Matafeo..
“Should you have any questions on this matter, please contact the undersigned.
Matafeo Avalisa Viali-Fautua’alii
COMMISSIONER OF INLAND REVENUE”