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Treasurer says excise tax increase a misunderstanding

It’s 10% again
joy@samoanews.com

Attorney General Talauega Eleasalo Ale has stopped the move by Treasury Department which asked car dealerships to pay excise taxes for imported vehicles at 25%— an increase from 10%— noting that it’s not within the law, while the ASG Treasurer told Samoa News the issue is a “misunderstanding”.
 
The AG stated that he was consulted by the Treasurer, Dr Falema’o Phil Pili and Chief of Customs Moetulu’i Sipili Fuiava, after receiving inquiries from Samoa News on the matter. However, he did not elaborate on his interpretation of the law on excise taxes, specifically for imported vehicles for commercial use.
 
Moetulu’i told Samoa News on Wednesday that this new policy had been approved by the Treasurer after consultation with each other on the issue and it was “their” interpretation of the law on excise taxes.
 
Yesterday (Thursday) Moetulu’i said that he and the Treasurer had now consulted with the AG on the matter, and the AG made it clear that it’s not within law, as he, Moetulu’i, had eluded to in a previous conversation the day before.
 
PIli told Samoa News yesterday morning via email that this issue is moot and that it’s a misunderstanding which has already been taken care of.
 
On Wednesday, Moetulu’i had explained to Samoa News that under the statute especially for Excise Tax on imports, Chapter 10, title 11.1002 (3) it is indicated the excise tax is twenty-five percent of the basis of motor bicycles, automobiles, trucks, and vans which will be used for commercial purposes and there is no tax exemption.
 
BACKGROUND
 
The following is the statute Moetulu’i says he, as Chief Customs Officer and the Treasurer interpreted as allowing them to raise the excise tax on motor vehicles brought in by car dealerships from 10% to 25%, as of Monday, Feb. 10, 2014.
 
ASCA 10 —EXCISE TAX ON IMPORTS 11.1002 (3) ON VEHICLES AS FOLLOWS
 
(3) motor vehicles:
 
(A) twenty-five percent of the basis of motor bicycles, automobiles, trucks, and vans, to be used for commercial purposes; (B) notwithstanding the provisions of paragraph (A), the tax levied on motor bicycles automobiles, trucks, and vans, imported into American Samoa for personal or family use shall be 10 percent of the basis thereof. If a motor bicycle, automobile, truck or van, is converted to commercial use after being imported for personal or family use, it shall then be subject to the balance of the applicable tax imposed under paragraph (A).
 
(C) No tax exemption, including that provided by Title 11, Chapter 16, shall be granted for any motor vehicle. All other motor vehicles not taxed under this subsection shall be subjected to the tax under 11.1002(a)(7).



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