Officers from the Revenue and Customs intercepted goods that were smuggled into the country last week.

Physical inspection by Customs Officers in Lautoka discovered surplus and undeclared goods found in a container. The goods were shipped from China and was consigned to a newly established family supermarket. Preliminary findings indicate that overseas family members of the importer assisted in purchasing and packing the extra goods.

“The total value of surplus and undeclared goods is just above FJD $18,000 with applicable duty of $8,000 excluding applicable penalties for under-declarations which is up to three times the value of the goods. Items such as chocolates, supermarket shelves, tea towels, cables, plastic basin and bowls were some of the items that were not declared. All these items attract fiscal duty of 32%,” Chief Executive Officer Mr. Visvanath Das said.

Surplus goods are those goods which are declared lesser in quantity in comparison to the physical count, while undeclared goods are those which are not at all declared. Customs Law provides for seizure or detention of such goods at any time and are liable to forfeiture as well.

“The company has been issued with a Customs Infringement Notice of $10,000 additional to fraudulent evasion penalty. Traders and importers are reminded that they must declare all the goods in their consignment and failure to do so now incurs fixed penalties of up to $25,000.00. Alternatively, FRCS may also prosecute offenders involved in fraudulent evasion of duties and taxes and those found guilty may face imprisonment to a maximum of ten years,” Mr. Das stressed.

Customs Agents and Brokers, who prepare incorrect declaration are also warned as the Customs (Infringement Notices) Regulations 2018 also includes offences such as Aiding and Abetting and any person who aids, abets, counsels or procures, or by act or omission is in any way directly or indirectly concerned in the commission of any offence against this Act, is also liable to a fine of up to $25,000 or 10 years’ imprisonment.

“With the international best practices of risk management, FRCS continuously does risk profiling to target high risk imports. We work to promote voluntary compliance and therefore in any instance of incorrect declarations, traders and brokers should expect full brunt of the law which includes hefty penalties and prosecution.”

“Our aim as an institution is to enhance voluntary tax compliance in Fiji. We have our Taxpayer Education team that actually goes out and assists business who need assistance. It is in our interest to ensure that current and future taxpayers are educated about their rights and responsibilities and how to be tax compliant. We are actively engaging and providing information to individuals, businesses and sectoral agencies, in an effort to encourage and support voluntary compliance”.

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