Neil’s ACE Home Center in Malaeimi has informed Fono leaders and chairmen of key Fono committees reviewing the administration’s revenue bills that while the financial hardships ASG is facing is understandable, it strongly believes the proposed measures need more thorough review.
The company’s position is laid out in a letter from President and CEO, Ngaire Ho Ching, dated Septemebr 5.
With the 7% sales tax, ACE asks how the sales tax will be collected.
Ho Ching points out some businesses have move advanced Point of Sale systems than others so the 7% separation for these businesses as easily identified.
“Unfortunately for smaller business, it will be very difficult to track.”
Ho Ching says as a business owner, she needs to know this will be fair for everyone, with specific collection methods and processes in place that give accountability for all businesses regardless of size.
She also feels the sales tax should be rolled out gradually.
“7% is too high,” said Ho Ching, and suggested a sales tax of 2% instead, while ensuring that the collection method works.
She said, “Imagine the implication if we charged 7% to the consumer but it was not correctly reported,” and added, “if we already have problems with businesses with questionable and or fraudulent reporting, then charging the consumer a 7% sales tax is opening up avenues for temptation of additional income for those businesses that will still not be reported correctly.”
The ACE CEO also feels that the sales tax needs to replace the import tax, not be an additional tax on top of the excise tax.
For the first year of the sales tax, the 5% excise tax on goods for resale will still be in effect.
Ho Ching also recommends that the sales tax be applied to online orders and goods imported by individual shippers.
Regarding the increase in port fees and charges, ACE does not support that Port Administration has the sole authority or discretion to review fees every 5 years.
“This is not a decision to be made by one person alone,” declared the company president.
She pointed out that shipping costs , and cost of fuel are already high. Adding higher port fees will discourage outside investment and the cost will be passed from the shipper to the consumer.
ACE doesn’t support the proposed 1% Alternative Minimum Business Tax, feeling that this tax will discourage the establishment of new businesses in the territory especially start up businesses that struggle the first few years of operation.
Ho Ching suggests that the Tax Office monitor businesses filing losses year after year and perform audits to ensure their information is correct rather than “penalizing across the board.”
She concludes, “For over 30 years, the American Industries has been part of our community. We understand the success of our business is a partnership between the government and the community. However we have not received enough information on the revenue measures to fully support these initiatives.”
Ho Ching asks the Fono leaders and committee chairs to ensure the proposed measures are fair to everyone, And ultimately be affordable for the consumers to absorb and support,