Tax is on church ministers, not the church, says Samoa’s Prime Minister

tax

Samoa’s Prime Minister Tuilaepa Dr Sa’ilele Malielegaoi says the new tax laws apply to the church ministers individually, not the church as a whole.

Documents leaked to the Samoa Observer show that the Congregational Christian Church of Samoa (CCCS) will not observe a law requiring all church ministers to pay income tax.

According to the minutes of their meeting on 14 March 2018, the church will agree only after a discussion at their annual Malua conference this month.

The Prime Minister said unless it is officially announced by the church, he will not respond in case the report by the Samoa Observer is “inaccurate”.

He reiterated the law targets the church ministers.

“It is directed to the church ministers meaning the hammer will fall on the head of the nail.”

“That is why it is important to know that if the elders of the church try to interfere, we look back to the law which indicates that is being a party to a crime.”

Minister of Revenue, Tialavea Tionisio Hunt declined to comment on what actions the Government will take if the church ministers do not follow the law.

“I’m sorry but no comment from me.”

The Samoa Observer asked the Minister if he was scared of the church but he said: “I am not scared, I just don’t want to elaborate on the issue.”

It was put to the Minister that it is going on four months since the tax became effective.

“Currently the church ministers are undergoing registration, however, taxes should have already been paid as of January 2018,” said Tialavea.

“The question as to how many church ministers who have not paid or have paid, I cannot say because I don’t know.”

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News category: Asia Pacific.

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