September 13, 2018
Honiara, Solomon Islands – Businesses in the Solomon Islands will be able to file their tax returns electronically through a new web-based platform launched by the Inland Revenue Division, Solomon Islands (IRD) yesterday.
Businesses must register for an IRD online account and use their allocated IDs to electronically file Goods Tax, Sales Tax and P.A.Y.E. The upgraded system also has a number of e-payments options, such as internet banking and EFTPOS for businesses to pay their tax obligations. IRD says that they are also looking into the possibility of extending digital payments to mobile and app-based services in future.
IRD announced that these new services are the first of two phases in its goal to modernize Solomon Islands taxation system. This important development will ultimately transform the entire IRD tax platforms to digital, allowing easy and efficient e-filing and e-payments. This modernization process has been funded through a grant and technical support provided by the United Nation’s Pacific Financial Inclusion Programme (PFIP). The project has received financial support from the Governments of Australia and New Zealand.
IRD Commissioner Joseph Dokekana said that for well over a decade the IRD has been on a progressive path to modernization. “This next step, however is without a doubt the most exciting in the journey so far. In today’s world, to be modern means you must be digital. The digitization of our services will bring immense value to the country in terms of improving domestic resource mobilization, better tax compliance and ease of tax payments for our customers,” he said.
He added that more services will soon be available such as income tax and withholding tax, which the IRD believes will lead to a reduction in compliance costs for a large number of Small and Medium Enterprises (SME’s) as well as large corporates, besides individuals.
PFIP’s Regional Technical Specialist Abigail Chang said PFIP was extremely proud to partner with the IRD and Government of Solomon Islands in this important digitization project, which has great potential for replicability in other Pacific countries,” she said.
“Digitization increases efficiency, transparency and reduces the risk for fraud. It can also help to achieve a higher rate of tax compliance, meets broader national financial inclusion objectives besides contributing to achieving a number of the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals,” she added.
Digitizing payments flows is a national priority recognized by the National Financial Inclusion Taskforce under the Solomon Islands National Financial Inclusion Strategy (NFIS) 2016-2020 and linked to our national commitments under the Maya Declaration and the Better Than Cash Alliance.
In the coming months, IRD, in partnership with PFIP will conduct a series of customer education seminars, workshops, including site visits to assist tax payers in sign up, usage and adopt of the new digital interface.
PFIP is a Pacific-wide programme that has helped 1.9 million low-income Pacific islanders gain access to financial services and financial education. It achieves these results by funding innovation with financial services and delivery channels, supporting policy and regulatory initiatives, and empowering consumers.
PFIP operates from the UNDP Pacific Office in Suva, Fiji and has offices in Papua New Guinea, Samoa and Solomon Islands. It is jointly administered by the UN Capital Development Fund (UNCDF) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and receives funding from the Australian Government, the European Union and the New Zealand Government.