The Malta Independent 10 December 2019, Tuesday

Companies offering services to government now able to offset tax bill against money owed

Monday, 6 May 2019, 14:20 Last update: about 8 months ago

Companies who are owed money by the government for services rendered will be able to use this balance to offset payments, such as VAT or income tax payments owed to the government, Finance Minister Edward Scicluna said today.

Addressing the media, Scicluna said that the new system was a culmination of a long period of discussion between various government departments and other stakeholders.

The agreement, he said, required a considerable amount of “goodwill” on the part of all concerned parties.

The scheme will only apply to payments greater than €10,000, and it is hoped that it will improve both the government and private sector’s liquidity.

The government needs to pay expenses such as salaries, while companies needed liquidity to continue their operations, he said.

Scicluna said that while companies sometimes had an interest in delaying payments like their tax bill, this was not the case for the government.

Scicluna acknowledged that there would certainly be mistakes and “teething problems” in the initial period, but did say he was convinced that a workable solution had finally been found.

The measure will come into force this Friday.

In another press conference, Scicluna introduced a taxpayer service hub where the public can pay taxes due. This hub will be in full operation from next July, bringing the income tax department and the VAT department under one roof.

Last year there were over 38,000 people who visited the Tax Department and over 130,000 telephone calls made to 153.

In the future, our children will see such services and hubs as inefficient, since all services by then will be provided online, said Minister for Finance Edward Scicluna. He said that in the future there will be no need to leave the house, drive your car, whilst polluting the air to come and pay your taxes. “This is something we are working on slowly to make sure that one day everything will be available online.”

He said that he is proud to see that the newly refurbished hub will be providing all the needs necessary for the public when it comes to paying their taxes. Scicluna said that he was happy to see the refurbishment of the new Tax Payer Services Hub, especially when it was in an unacceptable state before being refurbished. “We had received complaints that the centre did not have air conditioning and when I went to visit the place, I was shocked to see that people had to come to such an unacceptable place to pay their taxes.”

He said that he hopes that the services provided at the Taxpayer service Hub will be of satisfaction for the general public. “We want to continue tackling the complaints we receive and to decrease the number of complaints we receive through the services provided.” He said that although not all the complaints the Ministry received are right, the Ministry will continue to push the rights of the customers first. “It is important that the Ministry works hard to make sure that the situation is better to when we first found it.”



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