Court hearing for 20 Samoan pastors to conclude today

The ministers have been charged after the Congregational Christian Church made the decision last July to refuse to abide by new income tax laws.

The laws require church pastors and the O le Ao o le Malo or head of state to pay income tax, but for nearly a year, ministers have refused to.

Each minister faces the two charges of failure to withhold taxes and failure to file tax returns.

The Congregational Christian Church has said that paying income tax is an affront to their faith, and that many pastors live off donations.

Samoa church ministers meet on tax boycott

They have been summoned by the Elders Committee to decide what action to take after the apparent failure of their boycott of a new government tax on church ministers.

The meeting comes as the government starts to prosecute ministers for failing to file tax returns.

A CCCS minister told KHJ News, on condition of anonymity, that the ministers hope the meeting would clear up confusion about the next course of action and some direction on the legal front.

Samoa PM refuses church pleas for tax delay

The fonotele is currently in progress at the church headquarters in Malua.

On his weekly radio programme, Tuilaepa pointed out that the other churches never complained about the law requiring ministers to pay taxes.

He says the act is passed and the implementation is in progress.

Tuilaepa says the church general secretary, Reverend Vavatau Taufao, wrote to him asking to postpone the passing of the Act and give the church six months to deliberate on the issue.

Samoan churches ask for more time on taxes

Samoa's National Council of Churches is asking for the Ministry of Revenue to allow more time for individual churches to discuss changes to tax laws that would affect pastor earnings.

The government's plan is to start taxing church offerings received by members of the clergy.

Spokesperson the Reverend Ma'auga Motu said the main denominations, Congregational, Methodist, Mormon and Catholic, were tasked with discussing with their own parishioners and church members as to their response.

Samoa pastor opposed to new tax plan

The Ministry for Revenue is consulting this week with churches and communities about the move that aims to tax direct personal donations from individual churchgoers to members of the clergy.

Pastor Samoa Unoi from the Peace Chapel in Apia said many pastors didn't get set wages, but live off donations from parishioners.

Doctors call for sweet drink levy to tackle obesity in Australia

The Committee of Presidents of Medical Colleges, representing bodies including the Royal Australian College of GPs, the Royal Australasian College of Physicians and the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons, has developed a six-point obesity action plan to tackle what it calls the most pressing public health issue.

Professor Nick Talley, head of the Committee of the Presidents of Medical Colleges, said urgent definitive action was needed.

"We need leadership, not just telling people to lose weight," he said.

Fiji tax body probed

The Finance Minister Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum says investigators from the country's Independent Commission Against Corruption or FICAC seized documents and computers from the agency on Friday after a complaint from the ministry.

FBC News reports Mr Sayed-Khaiyum has given a stern warning to business people and customs officers not to give or take bribes.


Clive Palmer in tax row with Noumea

The move in the South Pacific French territory is disclosed in the latest financial accounts of Gladstone Pacific Nickel, which is controlled by the tycoon, who owns about 95 per cent of the shares. The accounts, lodged with the Australian Securities & Investments Commission last week, also show $2.5 million (US$1.7 million) has been transferred from Gladstone Pacific Nickel to Palmer’s flagship company, Mineralogy, which has been bleeding cash and is two years behind in filing its ­accounts with ASIC.