HomeBusinessZimra owed $2,8bn in unpaid taxes

Zimra owed $2,8bn in unpaid taxes

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THE Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (Zimra) is currently owed $2,8 billion in unpaid taxes as companies continue defaulting due to several reasons, an official has said.

BY MTHANDAZO NYONI

Zimra acting commissioner general Happias Kuzvinzwa told media practitioners at a media workshop in Bulawayo on Monday that the level of debt in Zimbabwe was overwhelming.

“The level of debt in this country, I think currently we are sitting on $2,8 billion as tax debt owed by those that do not comply, hence our clarion call to join hands with the media practitioners to bring awareness on the critical importance to pay [and] remit taxes,” he said while responding to questions from journalists.

Kuzvinzwa said it has been observed that tax debt consists mainly of non-remittance of value-added-tax (VAT) and pay-as-you-earn (PAYE), which would have been paid or accrued to the taxpayer in the course of the business in the tax period.

“It should be noted that VAT and PAYE do not constitute an income to the business and should not be accounted as such. VAT would have been paid by the generality of citizens when they consume goods and services which attract VAT, while PAYE would have been withheld from the worker after selling his labour,” he said.

“It would, therefore, be a betrayal of trust vested by the people and government to the VAT registered operator and employer when they then fail to remit such tax in full and on time.”

He said the authority would continue engaging companies which owe taxes, customs and excise duties and to the majority of debtors, payment plans to liquidate their debts have been agreed upon.

Kuzvinzwa said it was important to note that Zimra places garnishee orders as a last resort and this is in instances where taxpayers fail to cooperate with the authority in meeting their tax obligations or breaching the agreed payment plan.

He said several measures were in place to increase the tax base.

One such initiative was a call for small-to-medium enterprises to register with no questions asked and no retrospective collection of taxes that were due.

The deadline for the dispensation is 30 June 2017.

Meanwhile, Zimra will next week commission its Electronic Transit Cargo Tracking System that is expected to curb transit fraud and illegal dumping of goods on the local market.

Kuzvinzwa said the authority would commission Electronic Transit Cargo Tracking System expected to curb transit fraud.

“Zimbabwe has suffered for a long time with regards to transit fraud. As an authority and government we are introducing the Electronic Cargo Tracking System which we have successfully piloted and would be commissioned on the 15th of May 2017,” he said.

The Zimra boss said the commissioning of the system would ensure that they are going for full throttle in as far as 100% of sealing of all transit cargo.

The system which has been operating as a pilot project, was credited for helping Zimra detain four tankers that entered the country with 140 000 litres of diesel purportedly in transit to the Democratic Republic of Congo February.

It involves the use of modern electronic sealing devices, which are put on transit cargo at the port of entry and removed at the port of exit.

Electronic seal devices report to Zimra in real-time any violations, that include seal and cargo tempering. It also reports real time incidents when cargo goes off route or outside the geo-fenced route.

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