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Income Tax Bill: Biti makes concessions

THE Budget and Finance portfolio committee this week flexed its muscles prompting Finance minister Tendai Biti to concede amendments and delay the passage of the Income Tax Amendment Bill that proposed to change the country’s tax regime to include a clause to levy funds remitted to Zimbabwe from the diaspora.

Report by Paidamoyo Muzulu

This is the second time in as many months that the committee has delayed the passage of the Bill on the basis that there is need for extensive consultations and revision of the proposed amendment.

The committee last week held public hearings across the country and the final one was at parliament in Harare where they forced the minister to concede to amend the Bill.

In separate interviews, committee chair Paddy Zhanda and committee member Eddie Cross said they were happy Biti had agreed to incorporate nearly 90% of their suggestions in the Bill before it is returned to the House of Assembly next week.

Zhanda said: “There was no need for the minister to fast-track the Bill and in any event it will only become operational next year (2014) thus we needed wide and extensive consultations.”

Cross concurred, adding the committee was now happy Biti promised to incorporate changes to the Bill, chief among them the deletion of clauses on foreign remittances.

Among the unpopular sections was one calling for punitive fines for people and companies that missed timetables to file their tax returns.

The Bill further sought to tax money remitted to Zimbabwe from the diaspora which the committee felt was unfair and a form of double taxation on people working outside the country.

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