Zimra tax debt scales US$4,2bn

As at the end of the first quarter on March 31 2018, the authority’s tax debt was sitting at US$4,227 billion and of this, 80% is owed by the private sector. Such a tax debt position reflects of an abnormal revenue administration and very low levels of compliance that requires our urgent attention

ZIMBABWE Revenue Authority (Zimra) says tax debt — arrears associated with failure to pay taxes to the state — has ballooned to US$4,2 billion in the first quarter of the year due to low levels of compliance largely by the private sector.

BY SHARON SIBINDI

Speaking during the Zimra-Zimbabwe International Trade Fair business breakfast meeting at Holiday Inn hotel in Bulawayo yesterday, Zimra Commissioner-General Faith Mazani said the tax debt has surged to US$4,2 billion as at the end of the first quarter on March 31.

“Allow me to speak on a serious issue that is confronting our country; this is a very low level of compliance in our revenue mobilisation. Zimbabwe is sitting with an unstainable unprecedented tax debt situation,” Mazani said.
“As at the end of the first quarter on March 31 2018, the authority’s tax debt was sitting at US$4,227 billion and of this, 80% is owed by the private sector. Such a tax debt position reflects of an abnormal revenue administration and very low levels of compliance that requires our urgent attention.”

She said statistics show the number of registered taxpayers is currently not exceeding 300 000 and this does not match the level of income and business activities in the country.

“It is only about a quarter of registered taxpayers compiling with their tax obligations. This leaves the tax burden on the shoulders of a few companies and individuals. I, therefore, pose this question – Are we playing our part to build a sustainable Zimbabwe through payment of our taxes due to fiscal? Government is alive to the economies realities faced by taxpayers and to that end has pronounced the tax amnesty is going to continue up to June 2018. The amnesty was announced by the Minister of Finance and Economic Development in his 2018 budget statement.

“My plea to all of us is we take advantage of this opportunity that has been availed by the minister and apply for tax amnesty. We are promising that the law was promulgated a bit late in March 2018 almost three months after the effective date. These issues are receiving due consideration as we have approached the ministry to hopefully consider an extension.”

She said Zimra demands individuals and companies to pay their taxes and duties.

“The new businesses require that we improve our infrastructure to support the industries being developed and these indeed require our taxes. I want to call upon some us to shun corruption in line with our core values of integrity, transparency and fairness. Zimra will continue taking the lead in the fight against corruption. Zimra has put in place several measures to fight corruption which include the anti-corruption hotline that you can use to anonymously to report corruption.

“On our end, where cases of corruption are brought to our attention, the officers concerned are dealt with the accordance with the laws of the land and the authority’s code of conduct.”