A legal battle is looming between Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (Zimra) and companies over fiscalisation and the imposition of a $25 a day per device for companies that have not yet complied with the Ministry of Finance directive.
Scores of companies, including listed companies, are yet to comply with the Ministry of Finance ministry requirements to fiscalise their operations.
All companies with an annual turnover of $240 000 are required by law to install the devices in line with value-added tax fiscalised recording of Taxable Transactions Amendment Regulations of 2010.
According to Statutory Instrument 153 of 2011, all companies should have fiscalised by January 1 2012.
Fiscalised tax registers record sales at the point of sale.
Each tax register is fitted with a memory card that records fiscal data. The data is used by Zimra to collect taxes.
Zimra commissioner-general, Gershem Pasi told the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Budget Finance and Investment Promotion on Monday fiscalisation was a major challenge and companies have been forced to fiscalise.
We now have a penalty regime, said Pasi. When they (companies) have not complied they will apply for leniency from the commissioner-general for a month.
We have already have companies that have been affected by the penalty regime. For every day in default they have to pay $25 per day, per till.
Added Pasi: Already I have some appeals that might end up in the courts.
Pasi said the challenges have been in the area of supplies where initially there were only two licensed players. Additional suppliers were only licensed last year in September.
He said despite the licensing of new players these were not in a position to supply the fiscalised devices.
There are real challenges out there, but its a law that is already in place and I have to implement it, he said.
The government has postponed the introduction of electronic registers three times due to delays by companies in securing the electronic registers.
The electronic registers were initially scheduled to be introduced in April 2010, before the deadline was postponed to October 2010 and January 2011.
Companies have been arguing they are not in a position to install the devices as the exercise required a lot of capital and will worsen their already dire financial position.
The use of the registers is expected to enhance government tax collection as the devices cannot be tempered with.
Electronic registers have been implemented in Kenya, South Africa, Ethiopia and other countries, but governments contributed to the implementation process.