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Vanuatu's Value Added Tax Office said it is increasing its compliance and enforcement activities, including through the publication of new guidance on the penalties for non-compliance.
In a statement on July 31, the Office said it is taking a proactive approach to educate all VAT-registered persons of VAT Act offences.
Under section 51(1)(a) of the VAT Act, where a person fails to apply for VAT registration, a fine of up to VUV100,000 (USD910) applies. For a second case of non-compliance, a fine of up to VUV200,000 will apply, with more severe penalties for persistent non-compliance.
Under section 51(1)(b), an offence is committed when a person refuses or fails to furnish any return or information as and when required by the VAT Act or by the Director. For example, the due date for filing a VAT return is usually the 27th day of the month following the end of the taxable period. It is therefore an offence if a return is not filed by the due date.
On the first occasion on which a person is convicted of any such offence (or offences), the person becomes liable to a fine of up to VUV40,000 for each offence, for each month of the default. The maximum fine is increased to VUV70,000 for each month of the default for a subsequent conviction. For any subsequent offences, the Office will proceed with prosecution actions.
Under section 51(1)(c), where a person: makes any false return; makes any false statement; makes any false declaration; or gives any false information, and knew it was false or did not carry out appropriate due diligence to satisfy themselves that the information disclosed was correct, this is an offence subject to penalties.
On the first occasion on which a person is convicted of any such offence (or offences) the person becomes liable to a fine of up to VUV100,000. Upon a second conviction the fine is increased to VUV200,000. For any subsequent offence, the Office will proceed with prosecution.
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