The Church Ministers are already paying taxes through V.A.G.S.T and in my own view that should be enough.
The imposition of direct or PAYE taxes should not be applied to them.
My reasons are:
(a) The arrival of Christianity to Samoa in the 1830s brought a completely new dimension to our way of life. It brought the longest period of relative peace and prosperity which have lasted up to these days but more importantly the hope for some or certainty for others of eternal life. I believe these some and others make up the majority of our population.
(b) The position of the church in every village, every gathering and in Government including Parliament and the Judiciary is number one.
(c) Our own emblem spells out in black and white that “Samoa is founded on God” and this God is none other than God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit.
(d) In fact the Government is introducing a Constitutional Amendment to recognise the special position of the Church in our way of life by putting these very words in our Constitution.
My question is, if we including the Government recognise the special position or role of the Church in our lives then why not extend that recognition to the Church Ministers by continuing to exempt them from PAYE taxes?
If we treat the Church Ministers just like every other paid worker then in my own humble opinion our special recognition of the role the Church has on our lives is in vain.
One area to look at in getting more tax income for Government is increase the base of goods and services that are subject to V.A.G.S.T.
Fauoo Taua Fatu Tielu