MVR 206.28 million as tax revenue in May, an 81 percent drop

Maldives Inland Revenue Authority (MIRA). (Sun Photo/Fayaz Moosa)

Maldives Inland Revenue Authority (MIRA) has announced an 81 percent drop in tax revenue in May compared to the same period last year.

The monthly tax revenue records released by MIRA this Thursday shows the authority collected MVR 206.28 million as tax revenue in May, including USD 7.03 million.

The figure is a significant 81 percent drop compared to the same period last year.

MIRA attributed the drop in tax revenue to closure of borders and cease in tourism activity due to the coronavirus pandemic, and the extensions awarded on tax deadlines due to the lockdown on Male’ City.

Same as prior months, the biggest contribution to the revenue came from Goods and Services Tax (GST). MIRA received MVR 113.5 million as GST, which made for 55 percent of the total revenue.

MIRA also collected MVR 19.9 million as income tax, which made for nine percent of total revenue.

MIRA collected MVR 16.8 million as Airport Development Fee, which made for 8.2 percent of total revenue; and MVR 16 million as Airport Service Charge, which made for 8 percent of total revenue.

MIRA collected just MVR 11.9 million as Tourist Land Tax in May, a previous high-earner, which made for 5.8 percent of total revenue.

Other tax revenue collected in May includes MVR 7 million as Green Tax and MVR 1.9 million as fines.

Tax revenue has been dropping since the emergence of the coronavirus pandemic. The MVR 206.28 million collected as tax revenue in May is lower than the  MVR 527.47 million collected as tax revenue in April, which in turn is lower the MVR 1.11 billion collected as tax revenue in March – when Maldives had identified its first coronavirus cases and declared a state of public health emergency.

Commissioner General of Taxation Fathuhullah Jameel announced at a press conference in late May that while the country had been projected to earn MVR 17.5 billion as tax revenue this year, prior to the coronavirus pandemic, MIRA now projected that it will collect only 8.95 billion this year, meaning a 48 percent drop in annual tax revenue.

Maldives is heavily dependent on tourism as a source of income. The government has announced plans to gradually reopen its borders to tourists in July.