FHTA Member Update on MSAF Survey Certificates

FHTA Member Update on MSAF Survey Certificates
FHTA has been meeting with senior management at MSAF to discuss 2 issues regarding tourism vessel certificates that have been difficult to obtain quickly resulting in tourism businesses being affected, with the following positive outcomes:
1. For the usual annual renewal of the Coastal Trade License (CTL) that is often difficult to get approved sign-off for, FHTA has requested MSAF and the Ministry of Transport to consider including tourism vessels for extended validity periods for this license in a similar manner to the current consideration for commercial passenger franchises. In this respect, FHTA has requested that CTL’s be considered for a period of 5 years.
  •  MSAF has confirmed that they are looking into the required legislation changes for 5 year CTL licenses for tourism purposes
  • This would only apply to vessels that are less than 20 years old
  •  Safety inspections would still continue to take place, as required annually
FHTA will provide an update on this legislation once confirmed and understand that this process has commenced.
2. For the late provision of Safety Inspection Certificates which required on a 6 month basis, FHTA has requested that MSAF and the Ministry for Transport consider an annual (2 month) license validity period and requested the provision of Interim Certificates to ensure tourism vessels could continue to get insurance protection and cover without interruption to tourism businesses.
  •  MSAF has agreed to provide Interim Certificates immediately after an approved inspection, pending the confirmation by the Senior Surveyor
  •  Members are reminded that it is a mandatory requirement to provide your vessel’s ownership documents for every inspection to avoid delays
  • This will only be for on-going safety inspections and not for vessels that have just entered service or are brand new
  •  A copy of the inspection certificate may be obtained by the owner of the vessel with the Interim Certificate for the purposes of complying with insurance requirements and/or renewing insurance cover
  • The Interim Certificate will be valid for 1 month. It is the responsibility of the vessel owner to get the final Inspection Certificate before the end of the 1 month validity period
  •  Senior Surveyor contact: Pene Manueli 9904524, pmanueli@msaf.com.fj
  •  Contact for certificate issuance status : Iliseva Karusi (PA to MSAF CEO) 3315266, ikarusi@msaf.com.fj
3. Insurance agencies and the Insurance Association of Fiji has confirmed that Interim Certificates are acceptable for insurance cover validity
  • A copy of the Inspection Report is required by insurance agents with the copy of the Interim Certificate
Please feel free to contact the Secretariat if you have any queries or require further follow up, but do ensure you have provided ALL the required documentation to MSAF beforehand.
MSAF’s list of requirements can be accessed  HERE.

FHTA Members Notice – Courtesy Vehicle Licensing

FHTA

11 February 2020 – Members are advised of the update below following FHTA’s meetings and on-going discussions with the Land Transport Authority (LTA) and our previous advice here of 11 January 2020.

1. Courtesy vans used for guest and staff pick up and drop off – regardless of the number of seats – must be taken to LTA to apply for a COMMERCIAL LICENSE CLASS.

2. LTA will provide a 1 year EXEMPTION PERMIT for the Commercial License Class;

  • this exemption will allow Fiji Airports Ltd (FAL) to provide access to their bus bays per their usual requirements (application of the “”Blue Stickers””)
  • the exemption timeframe is to allow LTA to amend the current legislation to include tourism specific requirements, not currently covered that will also address tourism’s preferred seating capacity for courtesy vehicles based on prudent operational and economic requirements.
  • FHTA will continue to consult with LTA on the legislative amendments to ensure our business processes are better understood

3. Owners (hotels/resorts/tourism businesses) must provide proof of ownership of the vehicle(s) when applying for the Commercial License Class.

  • if the vehicle has a Private License – this must be changed to a Commercial License
  • if the vehicle ownership is under a person’s name – confirm if this person owns that tourism business
  • where the business registration differs from the trading name (T/A), provide business ownership details
  • if the hotel/resort/tourism business is outsourcing guest or staff transfers to someone else – the owners of that transport business/vehicle must have a PSV license class

4. Please use the attached copy of the LTA confirmation on Hotel Courtesy Van Licensing to take to your nearest LTA office for the above

  • if your vehicle has not been deemed non-compliant yet and you are not sure, please contact the LTA Standards & Engineering Team sne@lta.com.fj to avoid your vehicle being taken off the road
  • do let the FHTA Secretariat know if you are unable to get a response or your response is not in accordance with the above details or the attached letter HERE.

Fiji Hotel and Tourism Association on the Coronavirus Outbreak in China

FHTA

Suva, 29 January 2020 – The Fiji Hotel and Tourism Association (FHTA) has been closely liaising with the Ministry of Tourism and tourism industry stakeholders to carefully monitor the Coronavirus’ current and potential impact on visitor arrivals from China and other countries as the virus moves out of Asia.

FHTA members, along with industry stakeholders are working together to support travellers affected by the Chinese Government suspension of outbound group travel by allowing flexibility with rebookings with no fees to be applied subject to specific travel conditions.

The Association is maintaining its communication channels with tourism industry businesses and suppliers and is providing guidance and assistance where required, including reminders on safe hygiene practices and recommended
reporting of any suspicious cases.

FHTA is aware that the Government is working on strengthening Fiji’s border security and strongly recommends that this includes thermal inbound screening processes for all inbound flights to ensure we maintain a consistent vigilance on this medical emergency from all possible directions.

FHTA Membership Update on LTA Requirements for Tourism Courtesy Bus Licensing

FHTA
22 January 2020 – The Fiji Hotel and Tourism Association (FHTA) has been in on-going discussions with the Land Transport Authority’s (LTA) senior management since October 2019 on their new interpretation of an existing LTA regulation that now makes it illegal for courtesy vans with more than 8 seats or less than 16 seats to operate as courtesy pick up vans.
 FHTA’s key role has always been to ensure our members are assisted to comply with regulations and where they do not; to find a way to ensure that they can comply by working with the relevant authorities. This supports your business so that you can continue to contribute positively to the tourism industry and Fiji’s economy.
FHTA has been advised by LTA that in the recent review of the interpretation of the Land Transport Act (Sections 53(b), (ii) & Section 63(3),(d)&(e)) it was determined that tourism was not considered when the Act was initially put into place and therefore requires legislation amendments that the industry must await.
 The Ministry of Tourism is providing their sincere support to the industry in trying to find a solution and the Association has also reached out to the Ministry of Transport and the Board of LTA for their assistance.
 In the meantime, members are advised that their courtesy vans that fall into this category will not be provided with the required “B” license plates to pick up or drop off customers and staff or be allowed entry passes for AFL’s airport bus bays.
 We understand that this will cause disruptions to your guest services, however FHTA recommends complete compliance of the requirement by not using any courtesy vans in this category where licensing has not been approved by LTA and to make alternative arrangements where possible with appropriate explanations provided to guests and customers.

Please contact me directly for queries or questions on the above.

FHTA Update: Credit Cards – Administration Fee Policy Recommendation

FHTA

(Revised 20th November 2019)

In light of Booking.com’s recent advice to Fiji tourism operators that they would remove the credit card fees set up in their systems effective 21st November 2019, FHTA advises all members that the recommendation below, initially sent Feb 2014, remains in place.

The charging of the Administration Fee on Credit Cards is recommended to continue as current on all invoices settled with Credit Cards with the provision of a Credit Card Disclosure.

Prior notice:

20 February 2014
You will recall that on 25 Nov. 2013 a “Credit Card Fee Policy Recommendation” was made to Members. A confirmation was received from Banks that “International Debit Cards” attract up to 3% Processing Fees, therefore the Board of Directors has approved the following amended Policy Recommendations: –

It is noted that the Reserve Bank of Fiji (RBF) on 05 November 2013 has rescinded its “Credit Card NO Surcharge Rule” – effectively immediately. The RBF has not stipulated any system for Credit Card Surcharges. However, the RBF will closely monitor any credit card surcharging practices applied by merchants and commercial banks have been requested to liaise with their clients to ensure such surcharges are appropriately displayed.

We leave it for individual members to decide if they wish to apply an Administration Fee for the use of Credit Cards. The Board is of the opinion that a generic administration fee based on cost recovery is an appropriate charge provided that there is no element of “profiteering” on an annualized basis. It is recommended that members set their Administration Fee on an average of actual fees charged by the various card companies and weighted by volume plus an element that would cover the tax components (HTT and STT), leasing, rental and ancillary costs. It is envisaged that the maximum fee would be 3.5%. (Note: A Generic Administration Fee means that the same fee is applicable to ALL Credit Cards. There should NOT be any differentiation between different cards.)

The Authorities have indicated that profiteering or gouging will NOT be tolerated and that the surcharge process may be audited. Members therefore should be able to explain how their fee was set and what the total fee excess or shortfall was over a 12-month period.

Debit Cards. “NO Administration Fee is chargeable for the use of Local Debit Cards”. A generic administration fee of maximum 3.5% for all INTERNATIONAL Debit Cards is chargeable.

It is a RBF requirement that any Administration Fee is prominently displayed for guest information at
appropriate touch points. Suggested wording… “At this Establishment there is an Administrative Fee of XX% on the use of any Credit Cards or International Debit Cards. There is no fee for the use of any Local Debit Card.”

This Administration Fee Policy Recommendation replaces the previous issued on 20 February 2014. It is the commercial prerogative of individual members to follow or disregard this Recommendation.

Please contact the Secretariat should you have any queries.

Vinaka,

Fantasha Lockington

Chief Executive Officer

FHTA Member Notice on the Security Industry Act

FHTA

Members are reminded that per the Security Industry Act 2010, organisations employing security officers must either have a Master License or outsource its security services to businesses that hold a Master License.

These licenses are provided by the Security Industry Registration & Licensing Board (Ph: 3211613/3211621, mcakau@govnet.gov.fj).

Security Industry Act:

[SI 13] Requirement to hold a licence

(1) No person may employ or provide other persons to carry on any security activity unless that person –

(a) is the holder of a master licence; and

(b) employs or provides no more than the number of persons authorised by the master licence.

FHTA VMS Update to Members No. 6 – VMS Deadline Extension Confirmed

FHTA VMS Update to Members No. 6 – VMS Deadline Extension Confirmed

This is the Fiji Hotel and Tourism Association’s (FHTA’s) 6th VMS Update to members since the confirmation of the Fiji Revenue & Customs Services (FRCS) announcement of the Vat Monitoring System (VMS) or Electronic Fiscal Device (EFD) Roll Out on 29 May 2019.

The due date for businesses included under Phase 3 the VMS/EFD Regulations to install, implement and operate an EFD has been extended from 31 July 2019 to 30 April 2020.

Groups of businesses included under Phase 3 of the VMS/EFD Regulations are as follows:

Groups of businesses
Description
Accommodation Includes hotels, boarding houses, lodging houses, guest houses and any building, vessel, premises, structure, caravan or house on wheels not being a public institution used for the business of receiving guests or travellers for any period of time or to which persons are entitled to resort for accommodation for hire or reward of any kind.
Architecture and engineering
Includes architectural and engineering activities and related technical consultancies. Commercial health care services Includes the provision of health care services on a commercial basis such as private hospitals, general or specialty medical and surgical hospitals, sanatoria, nursing homes, asylums, rehabilitation centres, medical practices, dental practices, allied health practices and optometry practices that are profit oriented businesses.
Construction Includes contractors and subcontractors in the construction or maintenance of buildings, construction of other civil engineering projects, demolition and site preparation, electrical installation, plumbing, heat and air-conditioning installation, other construction installation, building completion and finishing and other specialised construction activities.
Food services Includes the provision of food or drink whether alcoholic or otherwise in exchange for money or consideration such as restaurants, bars, nightclubs, taverns and catering services.
Freight operators
Includes freight transport by road, sea and coastal freight water transport, inland freight water transport, freight air transport, warehousing and storage, service activities incidental to land transportation, service activities incidental to water transportation, service activities incidental to air transportation, cargo handling, other transportation support activities, postal activities and courier activities, including customs agents.
Real estate agents
Includes all real estate agent activities in relation to owned or leased property and any real estate agent activity on a fee or contract basis.
Service stations
Specialised stores involved in the provision of the retail sale of automotive fuel and other goods, servicing of vehicles and other services provided at service stations.
Wholesalers and manufacturers
Includes dealers, traders, manufacturers, wholesalers and distributers of goods for sale that purchase great quantities of goods for resale. This also includes hardware companies, supermarkets and pharmacies that are wholesalers or manufacturers.
Do contact the Secretariat if you have any queries.

FHTA VMS Update to Members No. 5 – 31 July 2019

FHTA VMS Update to Members No. 5 – 31 July 2019

This is the Fiji Hotel and Tourism Association’s (FHTA’s) 5th VMS Update to members since the confirmation of the Fiji Revenue & Customs Services (FRCS) announcement of the Vat Monitoring System (VMS) or Electronic Fiscal Device (EFD) Roll Out on 29 May 2019.

FRCS understands that many of our Members will require more time to implement the VMS compliance practices into their systems and business process and that this implementation may exceed the due date of 31 July, 2019.

Members are therefore reminded that they must urgently do the following by TODAY for consideration of the deadline extension for them:

1. Go to the link: https://eservices.frca.org.fj/EFD
2. Register your Business

If you are having issues registering your business, if may be that you do not have an authorised person on record with FRCS. In this case, you will need to follow the additional steps below:

3. Businesses should provide their most feasible implementation plan as to when they will become EFD compliant, IN WRITING, by TODAY to FRCS. This can be sent via email to EFDCompliance@frcs.org.fj copied to deepika@frcs.org.fj. Or let the FHTA Secretariat know so that you are included in their list, or ensure their suppliers have provided this information already.

The extension of the 31st July 2019 deadline time will ONLY be considered if the above is carried out.

We therefore urge all members to consider the advice above and prepare their businesses accordingly.

We continue to work closely with FRCS to develop the Standard Interpretation Guidelines (SIGs) or tourism industry specific VAT regulations that would effectively and best address scenarios that capture tourism business processes. Additionally, we are working towards a consensus on where the fiscalisation points will be to assist members and software providers with confirming their solutions for compliance.

Do contact the Secretariat if you have any queries.

FHTA VMS Update to Members No. 4 – 19 July 2019

FHTA VMS Update to Members No. 4 – 19 July 2019

This is the Fiji Hotel and Tourism Association’s (FHTA’s) 4th VMS Update to members since the confirmation of the Fiji Revenue & Customs Services (FRCS) announcement of the Vat Monitoring System (VMS) or Electronic Fiscal Device (EFD) Roll Out on 29 May 2019.

FHTA has been in consultation with FRCS and the VMS Unit to discuss the VMS compliance requirements, provide background into our members’ business processes and discuss the way forward for meeting the required compliance by the 31st July 2019.

FRCS understands that many of our Members will require more time to implement the VMS compliance practices into their systems and business process and that this implementation may exceed the due date of 31 July, 2019.

Members are therefore reminded that they must urgently do the following for consideration of the deadline extension for them:

1. Go to the link: https://eservices.frca.org.fj/EFD

2. Register your Business

3. Businesses should provide their most feasible implementation plan as to when they will become EFD compliant, IN WRITING, by 31 July 2019 to FRCS. Or let the FHTA Secretariat know so that you are included in their list, or ensure their suppliers have provided this information already.

The extension of the 31st July 2019 deadline time will ONLY be considered if the above is carried out.

We therefore urge all members to consider the advice above and prepare their businesses accordingly.

We continue to work closely with FRCS to develop the Standard Interpretation Guidelines (SIGs) or tourism industry specific VAT regulations that would effectively and best address scenarios that capture tourism business processes. Additionally, we are working towards a consensus on where the fiscalisation points will be to assist members and software providers with confirming their solutions for compliance.

Do contact the Secretariat if you have any queries.

FHTA Update No. 3 for 2019 – Fiji Hyperbaric Chamber

FHTA Update No. 3 for 2019 – Fiji Hyperbaric Chamber

Monday, 15 July 2019 – FHTA has been following up on a monthly basis with the Ministry of Health on the commissioning of the new Hyperbaric Chamber that has now been installed. However, an electrical issue has further delayed the commissioning and we have been advised that this has now moved to August.

FHTA will provide further updates on when the chamber will be operational as soon as we have been formally advised.

Related:

Update No. 2 for 2019 (20th May): https://fhta.com.fj/fhta-update-no-2-for-2019-fiji-hyperbaric-chamber/

Update No. 1 of 2019 (26th February): https://fhta.com.fj/fiji-hyperbaric-chamber-update/

FHTA VMS Update to Members No. 3 – 12 July 2019

FHTA

This is the Fiji Hotel and Tourism Association’s (FHTA’s) 3rd VMS Update to members since the confirmation of the Fiji Revenue & Customs Services (FRCS) announcement of the Vat Monitoring System (VMS) or Electronic Fiscal Device (EFD) Roll Out on 29 May 2019.

FHTA continues to meet with FRCS and stakeholders to better understand the VMS compliance requirements, implication to our members’ business processes and how to address specific challenges, including the required compliance by the 31st July 2019.

If you have not read up on the VMS Update No. 2, that was shared on 28 June 2019, it can be viewed here.

FRCS has advised their understanding that some taxpayers may require more time to implement the VMS and that this implementation may exceed the due date of 31 July, 2019.

Where VMS/EFD compliance is expected to be delayed, FRCS will consider the business request if the following is carried out:

  1. The Business is registered for EFD. PLEASE DO THIS IMMEDIATELY IF NOT ALREADY DONE.
  2. The Business or solution provider has commenced work and made significant changes for accreditation of their software via the Tax Core administration portal (https://www.frcs.org.fj/our-services/vat-monitoring-system-vms/efd-accreditation-instructions/).
  3. Businesses must provide their most feasible implementation plan as to when they will become EFD compliant, IN WRITING by 31 July, 2019.

The extension of the 31st July 2019 deadline time will ONLY be considered if the above is carried out.

We therefore urge all members to consider the advice above and prepare their businesses accordingly.

We continue to work closely with FRCS to develop the Standard Interpretation Guidelines (SIGs) or tourism industry specific VAT regulations that would effectively and best address scenarios that capture tourism business processes. Additionally, we are working towards a consensus on where the fiscalisation points will be to assist members and software providers with confirming their solutions for compliance.

Do contact the Secretariat if you have any queries.

FHTA VMS Update to Members No. 2 – 28 June 2019

FHTA VMS Update to Members No. 2 – 28 June 2019

Members are advised that since the update by the Fiji Hotel and Tourism Association (FHTA) on the Vat Monitoring System (VMS) or Electronic Fiscal Device (EFD) Roll Out on 29 May 2019, the Association has been conducting on-going meetings with all the relevant stakeholders to better understand FRCS’ requirements, implication to our members’ business processes, their specific challenges and what will be needed to ensure compliance with this regulation within the 31st July compliance timeframe.

If you have not read up on the VMS requirements, information on the FRCS website that was shared earlier can be viewed here (https://www.frcs.org.fj/news/2019-2/vms-phase-3-rollout/).

We are working very closely with FRCS and on-going discussions with FRCS’s CEO and his VMS Unit, system software & hardware suppliers, members and their Financial Controllers as well as accounting firm reps have thus far provided the following information that we now share with you, to assist with understanding the compliance requirements and ensuring our members prepare to be compliant now:

1. Businesses that must comply.

2. Meeting the 31 st July Timeline

3. Understanding Tourism Business Processes

  • We have reached out to members to draw up a list of the many systems in use and discussed possible solutions with suppliers
  • We are working with FRCS to complete a list of the many “scenarios” that capture the various tourism related transactions that take place as part of normal business processes to determine at what points fiscalisation must be recognised
  • We are also working closely with FRCS to develop Standard Interpretation Guidelines (SIGs) or tourism industry specific VAT regulations that would effectively address these scenarios
  • If you do not think your business process would have been captured by us, please let us know your specific challenges

4. What Options Do Small Businesses Have?

  • We realize that many of our members are small operations that run on intermittent power supply and/or are off the grid for power and internet and that manual processes could be how things are being done currently. After all, being isolated and “unplugged” is probably what your visitors are seeking in the first place. We are working to find available options for this category of business but reiterate that you should also consider talking to an already accredited supplier noted in No.2.
  • We are also seeking clarifications on the support being offered by FRCS towards businesses with an annual turnover of less than $500,000 (referred to in their Tax Talk Article 28 June and the 2019-2020 Budget Supplement to the Budget Address, Part 2 Indirect Tax Measures, (i) Value Added Tax Act) where they discuss a free POS system.

5. Feedback

  • Members are reminded that they should provide the FHTA Secretariat with feedback on the specific challenges they are experiencing in trying to comply with this new VMS requirement or any other information they believe is relevant to the SIG’s we are compiling.

FHTA Update – FPRA Live Performance Payments

21 November 2018 – Members are reminded of the previous advice provided on 15 September 2017 on the matter of paying copyright fees to the Fiji Performing Rights Association (FPRA):

“Per the legal opinion provided to us on the matter, FHTA confirms that members must continue to pay the annual payment copyright fees for public performances (any broadcast or communication of music or musical reproduction that is played in public including guest rooms, piped music, background music, radios, CD’s, etc) to FPRA. 
 
However, on the issue of copyright payments to FPRA for Live Performances (Casual Public Performance for live bands providing music at your events),” FHTA continues to recommend that this payment be put on hold till FPRA provides the required clarification from the Copyright Tribunal that contradicts the written confirmation from the Ministry of Justice that FPRA has been only authorised to collect fees “solely for songwriters and composers” and not for Performing Rights or Production Fixation Rights.

FPRA has been advised that FHTA members will continue to only pay the copyright fees for public performances until such time as the authority to collect for Live Performances or Performing Rights is provided.