Monday, March 7, 2011

Fishing companies entitled to refunds from DAFF

In light of the Minister of Fisheries' confirmation to Parliament that her department may not lawfully collect any fish levy from any right holder without having first issued a tax invoice, every single quota holder (and that would mean all 3000 quota holders) will be entitled to immediately demand a refund of the fish levies that they paid to the department last year. In addition, there are numerous right holders that were unlawfully charged a "penalty". This amount needs to be refunded as well.

In addition, right holders could legitimately claim refunds for all previous levies paid where the department failed to issue proper tax invoices. This could go all the way back to the 2005/2006 financial year.

Based on the Minister's statements to Parliament, she and her department will have to refund more than R53 million rand in levies that were unlawfully collected from right holders. Incidentally, the collection of levies without a tax invoice is also a violation of the provisions of the VAT Act of 1991 and constitutes a criminal offence.

Further, the fact that DAFF has essentially threatened right holders by unlawfully withholding their permits because right holders refused to pay levies without an invoice warrants an investigation by the Public Protector's Office. Feike will be lodging a complaint with the Public Protector in this regard.

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