Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Ripping off New Zealand

It looks like the tobacco industry has another business-model besides selling cancer: tax cheating:

New Zealand First is calling on the Government to explain why it allowed vast quantities of cigarettes to be imported and stockpiled at the end of 2012 so they could be re-exported overseas and increased taxes claimed back by the tobacco industry.

Revenue spokesperson Andrew Williams says the tobacco industry plan will see it make big tax gains following the 10 per cent increase on tobacco tax which came into effect on January 1.

“'They were even chartering planes at huge expense to fly cigarettes into the country and stockpiled in warehouses to meet the 31 December deadline. That's how lucrative this scheme is,” Mr Williams says.

If this is true, then the government has seriously stuffed up. Reclaiming duty on re-exported product seems fair, but the idea that companies can claim back at the higher rate when it changes is just insane. If it is happening, then we have some very sloppy legislation, which has enabled tax cheating on a massive scale, and the Minister needs to be held accountable for it.