Incentive to employ local artists

FRCS chief of staff Shavindra Nath. Picture: SUPPLIED

A higher amount of claims through the tax incentives supporting local artists in the tourism industry is expected, due to the increase of the tax deduction from 150 per cent to 300 per cent last year.

As a result of some artists and hotel owners still harbouring some uncertainty about whether they qualify for the deduction, Fiji Revenue and Customs Service (FRCS) chief executive officer Mark Dixon has suggested all who believe they could qualify seek clarification or simply apply and allow the process to come to a conclusion.

According to FRCS chief of staff Shavindra Nath the incentive was introduced to encourage hotels and resort operators to hire local artists, creating much-needed employment for the artists along with the hotels and resorts being able to claim more than the costs incurred in hiring these artists.

“It’s also a great way to recognise and showcase Fiji’s local talent to both domestic and international tourists.

“This was one of the many policies announced by the government to assist the tourism industry after the impact of the pandemic,” Mr Nath added.

“In return for hiring local artists, businesses benefit from a 300 per cent tax deduction.

“Furthermore, no prior approval is required by applicants (hotels or resorts) to benefit from the incentive and the claim is made through the income tax return at the end of their financial year.

“The applicant will have to attach evidence such as invoices, agreements or any other documents confirming their expenses.”

The take up was reportedly low in 2020 and 2021 due to the downturn noted in the tourism sector, but a higher claim is expected for 2022 with a higher tax deduction of 300 per cent.

FRCS is yet to receive a number of tax returns for 2021 and it is anticipated that claims for 2021 will be higher than seen thus far.

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