In a move to intensify efforts to target taxpayers who fail to pay their outstanding tax debt, the Inland Revenue Board (IRB) on 2 October, 2013, issued a press release on tax defaulters barred from leaving the country.
Following the issuance of a reminder letter and notice of outstanding tax to the tax defaulter, a taxpayer will be prevented from leaving the country under Section 104 of the Income Tax Act 1967 (ITA 1967) and Section 22 of the Real Property Gains Tax Act 1976 (RPGTA 1976), unless and until the taxpayer pays all the tax debts.
The stoppage order is invoked only after various attempts to collect tax arrears have failed due to resistance by the tax defaulter.
Taxpayers are advised not to ignore notices of outstanding tax and are advised to contact IRB to arrange for installment payment schemes based on the information provided for consideration.
In practice, I have known of cases where a taxpayer is unaware of such notice issued against him and will only be aware of this embarrassing situation when he gets barred from leaving the country at the immigration checkpoint and have his passport confiscated, while the rest of his family/friends go on their vacation without him! The taxpayer may not have received the relevant stop-travel notice due to several reasons, such as not notifying the IRB of his change of correspondence address or the notice being lost in transit.
For those of you who have outstanding tax position and are concerned whether you have being barred from leaving the country, please visit the Immigration Department’s link below and check your travel status for yourself:
You are advised to check your status at least 14 days before your actual travel dates so that you have ample time to negotiate with the IRB for a payment arrangement of your outstanding taxes and obtain the necessary clearance letter from the IRB.
To read the IRB’s press release on the above, please visit the following link: