Revenue collection from the yachting industry needs to be strengthened |26 July 2019
On average for the last five years taxes collected from the yachting industry is R30.9 million per year but last year alone the sum collected was R33.3 million but there is a need to strengthen the revenue collecting mechanism to ensure Seychelles does not lose out from this sector as it continues to grow.
The Minister for Finance, Trade, Investment, and Economic Planning Maurice Loustau-Lalanne gave these details in the National Assembly this week when answering a question by elected member for Baie Ste Anne Praslin Churchill Gill on taxes the Seychelles Revenue Commission (SRC) is collecting from this sector of our economy as well as other related questions by other members.
Minister Loustau-Lalanne informed members that there are currently 47 yachting companies and 155 yachts providing yachting services in the country according to figures from the department of Tourism.
This commercial activity is listed under three categories under the Seychelles Revenue Commission (SRC) namely the ;
- pleasure sail boat, power craft hire and charter (147)
- pleasure boat craft, bare boat (27 active)
- other including renting of recreational and sports equipment (8 active)
SRC collects altogether six different taxes from these companies including the value added tax (VAT) and the Corporate Social Responsibility tax (CSR).
Minister Loustau-Lalanne said the largest chunk of the sum is from VAT and this is on average R18.5 million per annum followed by income tax which amount to R6.9 million, and the business tax is R3 million on average per year.
But is this reasonable or does the SRC needs to boost its revenue collection in that sector as each year the number of yachts is increasing to ensure more money enters State coffers?
Minister Loustau-Lalanne admits that the rates being charged by the yachts are high and their occupancy rate on these trips are also high and Seychelles is losing out on taxes that should have been collected and more should be done to strengthen revenue collection.
But does the authorities have in place a mechanism to ensure that all the other operators carrying out boat charter activities with different types of vessels are also captured so that they too can contribute through tax payments?
Minister Loustau-Lalanne said according to the SRC there are only 201 active taxpayers and he admitted that an in-depth exercise needs to be carried out to determine the level of compliance.
While all vessels imported into the country need to have an import permit which should make it easier to identify them and to detect non compliance, Minister Loustau-Lalanne admitted nonetheless that an exercise needs to be carried out to thoroughly review the whole sector.