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ABOUT 700 companies are using the System for Tax Administration and Revenue Services (STARS) since its launch in late April, according to a senior finance officer in the revenue division at the Ministry of Finance.

Speaking to The Brunei Times, Hj Mohd Shamsul Riza Hj Sulaiman said the overall response to STARS had been positive and that since its launch, some 700 companies have "activated" their accounts and are using them to file Income Tax Returns and Estimated Chargeable Income online.

"With more effort, more companies will come forward," he said. "At the end of the day, they will have to do it via STARS."

He said that the main target is for 70 or 80 per cent of active companies registered under the Registrar of Companies (ROC) to be using STARS by the end of the year.

According to him, some 8,500 companies are estimated to be registered under ROC.

"Basically, companies are already registered in the programme," he said, explaining that the system captured pre-existing data filed by companies to the ROC.

Hj Mohd Shamsul Riza explained that all that is left to do for existing companies is to "activate" their account on STARS.

"And then they can do their tax matters. They don't need to re-register their company again with STARS."

The senior finance officer said that in addition to directors of companies, individual citizens with Bruneian Identity cards can also register with STARS to take advantage of being able to pay "Stamp Duties" online when they implement the functionality in the future.

"An individual who would like to pay his stamp duties online, they can do so (in the future), as long as they have a Bruneian ID."

"A foreigner can also do so, but they will need to submit their details directly to revenue so we can register for him to access STARS."

He explained that registering for STARS is simple.

"All you need is your ID and your date of birth," he said, adding that once have been keyed in, most of the personal details, such as addresses and names, will be filled in by the programme.

"Companies are also registered automatically," he said, pointing out that if a director logs in, the company's details will already be listed out.

"It is a big time saver," he said, comparing it to the old system, where the revenue division had to correspond with companies individually to register with them through letters.

- The Brunei Times, Tuesday, May 29, 2012.