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FRCS Celebrates Completion of the Digital Online System

 

The Fiji Revenue and CustomsService (FRCS) announced the completion of its digital online system for Fiji’s taxpayers on Wednesday 

5th April 2023. The Taxpayer Online Service (TPOS) not only aims to enhance taxpayer experience, but also provides a platform to improve the ease of doing business in Fiji.

Describing the completion of TPOS as a significant milestone and a fantastic achievement, FRCS CEO Mr. Mark Dixon stated that TPOS was one of the most complex and largest digitization projects that Fiji has ever completed.

“It’s a fantastic achievement. Taking all our taxpayer services online is the future, allowing taxpayers to do their business with us in as simply as possible from their homes, from their businesses. No need to come and see us in the office, although they are most welcome to still do so,” Mr. Dixon said.

TPOS is a self-service “one stop shop” which allows taxpayers to conduct business with FRCS through a 24×7 online portal and serves to encourage higher levels of voluntary compliance in a self-assessment environment.

Mr. Dixon attributed the successful completion of the digitization project to the hardworking and dedicated FRCS team, its implementation partner Invenio Business Solutions and the stakeholders who continuously reviewed and provided feedback on the various tax processes prior to implementing it online.

Mr. Dixon also acknowledged that the new system still required important additional enhancements and improvements, FRCS has therefore established a collaborative “tiger team” comprising staff, members of the Fiji Institute of Accountants and business representatives to work together to agree what enhancements/improvements are required and to agree the priority for fixing.

The journey of digitising Fiji’s tax services

FRCS embarked on the modernization of the tax administration in 2017 and the first phase of the project was rolled out in December 2019.

According to the project lead Ms. Emily Yalimaiwai, delivering a transformational change project of such a large scale and complexity is a challenge however, we needed to be well-resourced to increase chances of success and early adoption of change.

Ms. Yalimaiwai stated that the online filing statistics have been very positive since 2019.

She further added that approximately 1600 Personal Income Tax (PIT) and 560 Corporate Income Tax (CIT) returns were filed on TPOS, following the implementation of these tax processes on TPOS in mid-March 2023.

“This is quite a good number for just the first few weeks since these processes went live. However, we do encourage more taxpayers to sign up for TPOS now that we have all our key processes within the tax administration available on the portal,” she said.

Currently, 113,331 taxpayers have signed up for TPOS. This is a substantial increase from the same period last year when the total number of users was 72,005. With full implementation, it is expected that more taxpayers will be using the online portal.

Way forward

FRCS will now increase its emphasis on taxpayer education and enhancements to the current processes. The tax service has a dedicated taxpayer education team and implemented a comprehensive strategy to further enhance education and awareness.

“One of the prominent features of TPOS is self-assessment whereby taxpayers are responsible for calculating their own tax liability and filing their own tax returns with FRCS. This means that taxpayers are responsible for ensuring that their tax returns are accurate and complete. It has been noted that there is a knowledge gap in the tax paying population that needs a proactive approach to educate the taxpayers to comply and meet their obligations,” explained Ms. Momina Beg, Director Taxation.

Ms. Beg further elaborated that certain requirements have changed from the initial phase of the project hence there will be continuous enhancements to the processes to ensure that these are aligned with the current needs and is easy for the taxpayers to comply with.

Mr. Dixon added that FRCS is focused on providing excellent customer service and taxpayers requiring assistance should seek help from the Service.

“It is very important that people take tax compliance seriously. Our data now enables us to track those that are not compliant. But I want to remind every single person in Fiji that it is a civic duty and responsibility to pay your fair and equitable amount of tax. We want to make that easy. It is important for Fiji that people are compliant because obviously, those tax revenues support our government to make really important changes through the national budget, to infrastructure, to health, to education and all the other government priorities.

“So, we want people to be compliant and our job is to make that easy, but hard for people not to be compliant. We’re going to continue that journey,” Mr. Dixon said.

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