Fiji residents are subject to tax on worldwide income. Nonresidents are subject to tax on Fiji-source income only.
A resident is defined as a person who resides in Fiji and includes a person who meets either of the following conditions:
- His or her domicile is located in Fiji.
- He or she is present in Fiji continuously or intermittently during more than one-half of the income year. However, this does not apply if the tax authorities are satisfied that the person’s usual place of abode is outside Fiji and that the person does not intend to take up residence in Fiji.
Income subject to tax
Employment income. Taxable income includes the following:
- All wages, salaries, or other remuneration or allowances derived by the employee with respect to employment, including leave pay, payments in lieu of leave, overtime pay, bonuses, commissions, fees, gratuities and work condition supplements
- The value of a fringe benefit, other than an exempt fringe benefit, derived by an employee with respect to employment that is not subject to tax under the Fringe Benefits Tax Decree
- An amount derived by the employee as consideration for entering into an employment agreement, for agreeing to conditions of employment or changes to the conditions of employment or for the acceptance of a restrictive covenant with respect to past, present or prospective employment
Self-employment and business income. Resident individuals are subject to tax on worldwide business income. Nonresident individuals are taxed on Fiji-source income only.
Taxable income is determined based on the accounting profit shown in the annual financial statements, adjusted for taxable and non-taxable items.
Investment income. Dividends paid by publicly listed companies and those paid by other companies out of profits that have been subject to tax are tax-exempt to the recipient. Dividends paid by unlisted companies out of profits that have not been subject to tax are taxable as ordinary income. Dividends paid from realized capital gains are exempt from income tax but subject to capital gains tax.
Interest income is taxable at the rates set forth in Rates.
Dividends, interest, royalties and know-how fees paid to nonresidents are subject to the final withholding taxes shown in the following treaty withholding tax rate table.
|Papua New Guinea||17||10||15||15|
|United Arab Emirates —*||—*||10||—*|
* No reduced rates apply to dividend, interest and know-how payments under the treaty.
Social responsibility tax. In addition to normal income tax, a social responsibility tax (SRT) is payable on the chargeable income exceeding FJD270,000 of resident and nonresident individuals. The rates of the SRT are set forth in Rates.
Capital gains. A 10% capital gains tax is imposed on all capital gains on the sale of capital assets, except for exempt capital gains. The following gains are the only gains that are exempt:
- Gains less than FJD16,000 made by a resident individual or Fiji citizen
- Gains derived from the sale of the principal place of residence of a resident individual or Fiji citizen, if the residence has been the individual’s principal place of abode
- Gains derived from the sale of shares listed on the South Pacific Stock Exchange
- Gains derived from the transfer of assets between spouses through “love & affection”
- Gains derived from the sale of capital assets used solely to earn exempt income
The capital gain is computed by deducting the cost of the capital asset at the time of disposal from the consideration received.
Deductible expenses. If a lump-sum entertainment allowance is paid by an employer, an employee must justify the amount spent for business entertainment. The allowance is taxable to the extent that it is not fully justified.
Business deductions. In general, all expenses incurred in producing taxable income are deductible, with the exception of ex penses of a capital, private or domestic nature. Depreciation of fixed assets used in the production of taxable income is allowed at rates set by the tax authorities.
Rates. The Pay-As-You-Earn (PAYE) tax rates and SRT rates for employment income (excluding redundancy payments) and self-employment and business income are shown below.
The following are the PAYE tax rates applicable to resident taxpayers.
|Chargeable income||Tax on lower||Rate on|
|Exceeding Not exceeding||amount||excess|
A PAYE tax rate of 20% applies to the total chargeable income of nonresidents.
The following are the SRT rates applicable to residents and nonresidents.
Exceeding Not exceeding
|Tax on lower
Dividends, interest, royalties and know-how fees paid to nonresidents are subject to final withholding taxes as described in Investment income.
Relief for losses. Losses incurred in any trade or business may be offset against an individual’s taxable income from other sources in the same year, except for employment income, because employment income is subject to final tax at source, which is withheld by the employer. To the extent that it is not fully offset, a loss may be carried forward for the next four years unless the business that gave rise to the loss is discontinued, sold or changed substantially in nature. For integrated hotel projects, losses can be allowed for only four years, effective from 1 January 2016. No monetary limits are imposed on the amount of losses for carry-forward or offset purposes.
Other taxes and levies include the value-added tax, service turnover tax, environmental levy, credit card levy and telecommunications levy.
Fiji does not impose tax on property, net worth, inheritances or gifts.
Although Fiji imposes no social security taxes, all employers must contribute an amount equal to at least 10% of the gross earnings of all regular employees to the Fiji National Provident Fund. Total contributions must equal a minimum of 18% (theoretically, a contribution of 10% from the employer and 8% from the employee), but an employee need not contribute or may contribute a smaller amount if an employer contributes the difference on his or her behalf. Contributions of up to 30% are allowed; however, amounts in excess of 18% are taxable to the employee.
On retirement, the fund provides either a lump-sum payment equal to total contributions made plus accrued interest or a pension based on the amount of total contributions made plus accrued interest.
Tax filing and payment procedures
The tax year in Fiji is the calendar year, and returns must be filed by 31 March. Extensions to May are normally granted on request.
Married women may elect to be taxed separately on income derived from personal activities unrelated to a spouse’s assets or business. Married women who do not elect separate taxation with respect to these types of income are taxed jointly on all types of income. Salary earners do not need to file an income tax return because PAYE (see Rates) is a final tax.
For employees, withholding of tax from employment income and social responsibility tax deductions are made in accordance with tables to ensure that an employee’s liability is fully covered.
For self-employed individuals, provisional tax based on the liability for the preceding year must be paid in three installments in April, August and November. An assessment is made when the return is filed, and a final payment or refund is made.
Double tax relief and tax treaties
Income derived by Fiji residents from treaty and non-treaty countries is subject to tax in Fiji. However, a credit is allowed for tax paid in the source country, to the extent that Fiji tax applies to the same income.
Expatriate employees who are resident in Fiji as a result of em ployment under a service contract of up to three years in duration are taxed only on income earned in Fiji.
A visitor’s visa, which is usually issued for one month but may be extended to six months, is normally granted to tourists or to individuals wishing to investigate business opportunities in Fiji.
Foreign nationals from most developed countries may obtain visitors’ visas at the port of entry if they have valid passports, return or onward tickets, and sufficient funds for living expenses. All other persons must obtain visas before entering Fiji.
Work permits and self-employment
The right to work in Fiji is restricted, but the Fiji government recognizes the need to admit individuals with special commercial, professional or technical skills to improve Fiji’s economic development. Therefore, permits to reside and work in Fiji are granted to foreign investors and expatriate employees under qualifying circumstances.
Permits to reside and work in Fiji are granted to fill positions that cannot be filled adequately by local Fiji citizens. In these cases, the Fiji Immigration Department requires foreign nationals to be employed under a contract of employment, and the prospective employer must show evidence that the position cannot be adequately filled locally. In most cases, the prospective employer is required to advertise the position locally and to submit all applications received to the Immigration Department for review.
Permits are usually granted for an initial period of three years and are renewable only if the continued presence of the permit holder is considered to be to Fiji’s economic advantage and essential to the employer’s operations.
Applications for all categories of visas and permits except for visitor visas must be made in Fiji. The application must be ac com panied by health and police clearance certificates from the ap plicant’s home country. Processing permit applications normally takes four to six weeks. Applicants are not permitted to work until the permits are issued, and changing employers is allowed only in special circumstances.
Foreign nationals with investment in approved business ventures in Fiji are granted permits that allow them to increase and manage their investments. These permits are usually valid for a three-year period, and extensions are virtually assured as long as the capital remains invested in Fiji.
Foreign investors, regardless of nationality, wanting to establish a business in Fiji must have the prior approval of Investment Fiji (IF). To obtain this approval, a separate application describing all pertinent information relating to the proposed project must be filed with IF.
No set guidelines are used to evaluate or approve business ventures involving foreign investors. Fiji welcomes investment in virtually all sectors, particularly in tourism, mining, manufacturing and high-technology industries. Certain activities are reserved or have a requirement for local equity participation. In general, proposed projects meeting the following criteria are well received:
- Substantial capital outlay
- New technology
- High employment-generating potential
- High local equity participation
As a matter of policy, Fiji is not open to immigration. However, individuals who wish to live or retire in Fiji and are able to demonstrate that they have sufficient funds from overseas sources to live in Fiji may obtain renewable three-year permits. In these instances, the Immigration Department considers the age of the applicant and the source and amount of funds available from abroad.
Alternatively, any person who has been in Fiji on a valid permit for five years or more may apply for citizenship, which is normally granted, unless the person is proved to be undesirable in the eyes of the law. Fiji also permits dual citizenships.
Family and personal considerations
Family members. The spouse and dependent children of a work permit holder are granted permits to reside in Fiji upon application. These permit holders are not permitted to engage in any form of employment.
Driver’s permits. A holder of a valid driver’s license from most developed countries may drive legally in Fiji. However, a Fiji driver’s license should be obtained no later than three months after arriving in Fiji. Generally, a Fiji driver’s license is issued on presentation of a valid driver’s license from most countries. If the expatriate does not have a valid foreign driving license, to obtain a local driver’s license, one must take written and verbal tests on road codes, as well as a fairly simple practical driving test.