The Ministry of Customs has temporally shut down four convenience stores in Tongatapu their owner allegedly falsified information on tax returns in order to limit the amount of tax liability.

The stores in Ma’ufanga, Pea, Ha’akame and Fatai belonged to one owner, the Ministry said.

However the owner has paid part of his tax liability and the Ministry is in the process of finalizing settlement arrangement before the shops can be re-opened, it said.

“The taxpayer owes income tax and consumption tax that has not been paid by the due date”.

“The tax liability was assessed as an outcome of a sales tracking mission conducted by the Ministry in July, August and September 2016.”

The Ministry’s investigation also found other business owners who failed to comply with tax laws.

“It was also found that these taxpayers were not properly keeping and maintaining their records according to law. Except for this company, all other taxpayers involved in the sales tracking mission came forward with settlement arrangements which were satisfactory to the Ministry”, the Ministry said.

“The temporary close down operation is in accordance with section 19 of the Revenue Services Administration Act 2002, as amended which gives power to the Ministry to close down a business temporarily for 14 days because of non-payment of income tax from employment income or consumption tax. It is intended to encourage the taxpayer to come forward and settle tax due”.