The Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (Zimra) has secured 3 000 gadgets from China to connect firms and its systems as it moves to maximise revenue collection amid reduced inflows.
BY FIDELITY MHLANGA
Speaking at the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Zimbabwe (ICAZ) winter school last week, Zimra regional manager for Customs and Excise Misheck Govha said the tax management system gadgets capture firms real time transactional data and help to see traders who under-declare their earnings.
“We have 3 000 gadgets from China and each time there is a transaction it comes to our system. When a trader submits tax returns that’s when we find how honest they are,” he said.
The ICAZ winter school was held under the theme: “Taking ownership of our Zimbabwe’s future”.
Govha said Zimra was engaging the ministry of Small to Medium Enterprises on how to tax the informal traders adding that tomato vendors in other jurisdictions like Mauritius and China were taxed.
He said fake Zimra officials were on the prowl in the country demanding money from traders adding that two clients in Bulawayo were duped of $15 000 and $18 000 respectively.
Govha also said some vehicles were being smuggled into the country without paying duty.
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“When you buy a vehicle, take details before you part with your hard-earned money. Some vehicles are not paying duty and being sold in garages,” he said.
He said the person buying an undeclared vehicle would be tracked and forced by Zimra to meet the duty requirements. This is happening at a time Zimra is battling to restrain a tax debt which has swelled from $1,97 billion end of 2015 to $2,5 billion in the first quarter of 2016.
Tax collection has been hampered by company closures which has been worsening due to low aggregate demand, lack of fresh capital and use of antiquated machinery.
Govha said there was a slow uptake on the tax amnesty, which spanned between October 2014 to December 2015, due to skepticism and mistrust of intentions by taxpayers.
The amnesty absolved payment of penalties and interest as well as prosecution.
Govha said while compliant taxpayers complained that the law favoured errant firms, the tax amnesty enabled additional revenue collection as well as quick returns to the fiscus.
He said garnishee orders were done as the last resort as companies have a leeway to engage the taxman with a payment plan to avoid harsh penalties.