Samoan government considers making pastors pay tax


The Samoan government is considering making church ministers pay tax.

“We are now in the process of carrying out consultations with churches,” Samoa’s Minister of Revenue, Ti’alavea Tionisio Hunt says.

“We already had a meeting with the Executive of the Samoa National Council of Churches where we discussed the issue,”

He said he understood pastors do volunteering work and give out money and food for those in need.

“But we (Member of Parliaments) are also doing the same. We also give out money to develop our districts and help those who need help. The difference is that we pay tax and they don’t.”

“The proposed changes targets the money church ministers receive from the congregation every two weeks (alofa/peleti).”

“We will not touch other contributions made by the church. We believe those other contributions are for the development of the churches.”

“This will also exclude the money they get from funerals, weddings, and other things.”

The Minister said a form would be provided by the Ministry for every church minister in Samoa.

“They will write down how much they get and we will calculate the amount of tax they have to pay depending on how much they receive.”

“It’s just going to be just like other workers in Samoa. You have to pay as you earn.”(P.A.Y.E).”

Ti’alavea said it was not the Ministry’s intention to offend members of the clergy.

“We don’t belittle their commitment and the performance of their roles in our country but we just think it is only right for them to pay tax as everyone else.”

“If God wants it to happen, it will happen. If not, then it will not happen.”

Ti’alavea said they are also looking at businesses run by churches in Samoa.

“We are revisiting the existing law so they can all be included.”


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News category: Asia Pacific.

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