Thursday, January 13, 2011

When is your fishing levy "outstanding"?

Is the Department of Fisheries refusing to issue your permits because they claim your levy is "outstanding"? And what about charging you a "penalty" on the "outstanding levy".

When is your levy outstanding? Your levy payment is only outstanding once the DAFF has issued you with a proper tax invoice which is addressed to the right holder and stipulates the levy amount that is due and payable and how this amount was calculated. The tax invoice must provide you with a reasonable period from the date of issue to pay the levy. A reasonable period could be 30 days as is common practice in our commercial environment.

DAFF cannot require a right holder to calculate its own levy and then to pay the levy in the absence of a proper tax invoice. How are right holders legally accounting for the transfer of funds from their business accounts to a 3rd party account (the MLRF) without a tax invoice? And how is DAFF accounting for the income in the MLRF without a corresponding tax invoice? This lack of documentation probably explains why DAFF to this day cannot advise right holders what levy payments they have made since 2005 (and why right holders had to complete this data for DAFF in the recent performance measuring exercise).

In short, DAFF's incompetence and regulatory laziness cannot prejudice right holders. If DAFF is refusing to issue permits because of "outstanding" levies, Feike is prepared to assist right holders retrieve permits on a pro bono basis.

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