Letters: 14 January 2015

Sliema council replies – ‘We are not a VAT inspector’

Reference is made to the article appearing in the MaltaToday Issue of 7 January, 2015, and entitled “€1.6 million in payments to Local Councils not covered by fiscal receipts”.

In the list of councils being mentioned, Tas-Sliema local council is being quoted as not providing receipts for an equivalent amount of €64,786. Well, for the benefit of all Maltese citizens, this warrants a clear explanation.

First and foremost, the council is baffled by the fact that its official reply to the Auditor General’s report on the matter in question has not been published in the same article. As a matter of importance, with every payment voucher produced by the council, there are clear and bold instructions that the supplier in question must produce a fiscal receipt in terms of the VAT Act. This procedure has been in force at the Tas-Sliema local council since its constitution and since the introduction of VAT in 1995.

The amount quoted in the article is represented by payments made to two of the council’s suppliers. One of the suppliers is exempt by the VAT Department from producing fiscal receipts, given that the supplier’s fiscal system is compliant with the provisions of the Maltese VAT Act. There are specific mandatory legal procedures to obtain this exemption from the VAT Department. 

The other supplier has indeed not provided a fiscal receipt for a payment made by the council in his favour. Despite the various reminders, through different means, the supplier failed to produce the receipt in question. In view of this, the council has taken due action by blacklisting this supplier from any procurements which the council may need and which this supplier is able to provide.

It is important to note that the Tas-Sliema local council endeavors to take all necessary actions to ensure and safeguard the collection of taxes into the national coffers. Yet, it is important to understand that the council’s administrative team has no mandate to act as a VAT inspector or any other form of fiscal assessor. The council has a clean conscience that it is adhering to fiscal discipline within its direct control.

Matthew Dimech

Executive Secretary, Tas-Sliema Local Council