The Parliament Legal Committee (PLC) has written an adverse report on a statutory instrument compelling companies to meet fiscalisation requirements or face stiff penalties
The PLC chairperson Shepherd Mushonga, who is also a House of Assembly lawmaker, said the committee agreed the statutory instrument was in violation of the law as it was unusual for the government to create civil penalties.
He said the committee was waiting for President Robert Mugabe to repeal the piece of legislation.
Statutory Instrument 153 of 2011 is on value added tax (VAT) and fiscalised recording of taxable transactions.
The piece of legislation instructed all companies to buy fiscalised tax registers at their point of sale or face $25 daily penalties. Each tax register is fitted with a memory card that records fiscal data.
The data is used by the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (Zimra) to collect taxes.
Use of the registers was expected to enhance government tax collection as the devices cannot be tempered with.
According to the statutory instrument, all companies with an annual turnover of $240 000 were required to install the devices in line with VAT fiscalised recording of Taxable Transactions Amendment Regulations of 2010.
“We want the President to remove it from the statute books. An adverse report on the statutory instrument was sent to the President sometime last month for repeal,” he said.
“The statutory instrument doesn’t allow people to disagree, the fines are at the discretion of the taxing officer.
“It denies someone the right to be heard by an independent court.
“We believe in this instance people are not given the right to further hearing,” said the Mazowe Central House of Assembly member.
Companies on the other hand have challenged the statutory instrument saying the new devices required a huge capital outlay.
Appearing before the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Budget Finance and Investment Promotion in February this year, Zimra commissioner-general Gershem Pasi said fiscalisation was a major challenge and companies had been forced to fiscalise.
“We now have a penalty regime,” Pasi said. “When they (companies) have not complied, they will apply for leniency from the commissioner-general for a month.
“We 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.”
Pasi said the commission had already made some appeals that might end up in the courts.
The government had postponed the introduction of electronic registers three times due to delays by companies in securing electronic registers.
Registers were initially scheduled to be introduced in April 2010, before the deadline was postponed to October 2010 and January 2011.
Registers are being used in Kenya, South Africa, Ethiopia and other countries, but respective governments contributed to the implementation process.