In recent years, the Maldives Inland Revenue Authority (MIRA) has taken a proactive stance against tax evasion, employing a powerful weapon in its arsenal—naming and shaming. MIRA has embarked on a mission to hold companies accountable in the public eye, using transparency as a catalyst for change. This list is something that all companies fear being on and a list that a great number of the general public wait to see as MIRA outlines those who are overdue for their due diligence. With each release of the list of tax evaders, ripples are sent through the corporate landscape of the Maldives as several companies are brought to the spotlight.
In the most recent list publicized by The Maldives Inland Revenue Authority (MIRA), 213 corporate entities were highlighted, drawing attention to a significant issue within the nation's business landscape. Among these entities, 34 stand accused of evading their tax obligations, while 179 more have come under scrutiny for their irregular submission of tax statements.
Within the list of tax evaders, a notable distinction is made between those who have consistently failed to pay their taxes and those who have been irregular in submitting their financial statements. The non-compliant group encompasses not only companies with arrears in taxes but also those with a considerable outstanding tax amount, exceeding MVR 100,000, spanning various tax categories, including Tourism Goods and Services Tax (TGST), General Goods and Services Tax (GGST), and Green Tax.
Among the entities identified for non-payment of regular taxes, some are familiar names, including hospitality properties that were previously exposed for their non-payment of resort rents. Notable mentions in this category include AAA Trading, Brennia Kottafaru, Jaah Private Limited, Medhufushi Investment Pvt Ltd, and South Palm Resort, among others. These entities have collectively neglected their tax obligations from October 2022 through March 2023.
Some of these companies are also majorly known within the Maldives for other issues such as not paying their employees as well as being accused of taking away their passports, an issue which is notorious within the construction company and highlighted within the country and globally as a form of human trafficking as well.;
The recent report from MIRA presents striking statistics, revealing a total of MVR 7.5 billion in unpaid taxes and receivables from various taxable entities and corporations. These figures encompass MVR 1.8 billion in TGST, MVR 876 million in GGST, and a substantial MVR 2.9 billion generated from rent payments from resorts. While MIRA has been highlighting naming and shaming these companies in recent years, the failure to force such big companies to pay their taxes and stay within the legal framework of the nation has become a growing concern among the public.
While the general public is unable to run away from even paying one little fine, big companies and resort owners being able to get away without paying millions and billions in taxes each year has really brought into perspective the Government’s failure to hold such parties accountable, letting them set-up and run more businesses freely each year while the country is getting into heavier debt that has raised concerns within the past few years as well.
This glaring financial imbalance raises concerns about the potential consequences for the nation's fiscal health and emphasizes the urgency of addressing the issue of tax compliance in the Maldives.