Zimra says it will accept both fiscal and non-fiscal value added tax (VAT) returns for January, but has urged operators to apply for a deadline extension from the revenue authority’s director-general after it heard that licensed suppliers were struggling to meet demand.
Treasury last year approved two dealers, First Computers and Axis Solutions, to supply electronic cash registers and electronic signature machines to every one of the country’s eligible operators, requiring them to comply by January 1.
Electronic cash registers apply to operators registered for VAT under category C, while electronic signature machines apply to non-retail businesses.
During a one-day “Meet Zimra” workshop organised by Stallone Consultancy last week, businesses said they had missed the deadline because the licensed dealers had failed to supply the devices.
Zimra heard that First Computers had the longest lead time of 6-8 months, which held up operators’ ability to meet their statutory obligations.
“I placed my order in October and paid the same month, but up to now I still haven’t received them,” one operator said.
“On one hand I’m being told to be patient and on the other Zimra is telling me that I have to comply or face penalties.”
In terms of Statutory Instrument 104/2010, it is an offense for a business to import electronic cash registers and electronic signature machines on its own or try to make its own.
In the 2011 National Budget statement, Finance minister Tendai Biti promised government would re-tender to bring in more players, but is yet to do so nearly four weeks into the deadline.
Zimra’s revenue specialists who convened the workshop, Elisha Mangwendeza and Munatsi Nengeze, said there was no chance the deadline could be extended because of the technical challenges, but urged every operator to apply for a deadline extension from the director-general.
They also said the revenue authority would accept both fiscal and non-fiscal VAT returns for January after taking into consideration the implementation complications arising from supply challenges.
First Computers managing director Ian Joule said the company had so far received orders from 637 companies, but had managed to deliver to only 200 of the firms.
“We received the first batch of devices from Italy in December 2010,” Joule said.
“We are hoping that by mid-February everyone in our books would have received the electronic signatures.
“It takes about 60 days for the devices to be transported from the manufacturer in Italy to the receiver. The other problem is the devices are made as per order so the moment you press an order then they start to make the devices.”
Joule admitted demand was overwhelming following Treasury’s statement this week that Zimra should start inspecting the devices.
Axis Solutions managing director Brian Mukudzavhu, however, insisted the company had capacity to meet demand.