Zimra dangles carrot to cross-borders

Source: Zimra dangles carrot to cross-borders – NewsDay Zimbabwe June 9, 2017

THE Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (Zimra) has dangled amendments made in the Finance Bill early this year to get cross-border traders to register for income tax, as it seeks to increase its revenue base.


This comes as the cross border traders constituency is the latest target of Zimra which offer, a lucrative potential tax base due to them generating an estimated $419,75 million in annual revenue.

Speaking to cross border traders at the Enhancing Financial Inclusion for Informal Traders workshop yesterday in Harare, Zimra revenue officer, Marvelous Chigwanda, said cross border traders needed to “use their profit to pay for taxes to contribute to the economy”.

“We also need a piece or a chunk from you to contribute to our civil servants. Imagine if we could not pay the teachers in the country? You are the business persons who are making a bit of profit and out of that profit we should follow the law and contribute to tax,” he said.

“Like a husband and wife we should communicate. As partners we need to communicate, people should not be afraid of their partner. Why are you afraid of your partner?”

In the amended Finance Act gazetted on January 25 2017, with further amendments gazetted on March 23, changes to incorporate informal traders are contained in Clause 3 and 10.

For Clause 3, the rates of certain presumptive taxes amended changes to the interval of their incidence so that they became payable monthly instead of quarterly. The amendment to the 26th Schedule to the Income Tax Act defined it as “informal trader”.

Under clause 10, Section 72 of the Income Tax Act was amended to provide for the payment of provisional tax in annual quarterly instalments with a provision to allow small and medium enterprises to pay these obligations monthly, with the leave of the Commissioner.

Chigwanda said these provisions would see traders not being put under the microscope which was what they feared as it allowed flexibility.

Part of the pitch to get traders to register under Income Tax included a promise not to ask them to pay for past arrears, stating that they would only pay from the start of them being registered under Income Tax.

Zimbabwe Cross Border Traders Association (ZCBTA) chairperson, Ruth Mutasa said traders needed to take heed of this information provided to them from Zimra.

“ZCBTA is extremely grateful to government and the central bank for making a loan facility available. As an association we are very keen to support policy objectives of broadening financial inclusion, increasing export and value addition,” she said.

The Ministry of Small and Medium Enterprises and Cooperative Development together with the central bank came up with a $15 million facility to provide loans for cross-border traders.

Mutasa said traders needed to support the central bank and government by adhering to the suggestions by Zimra.

Last month, Zimra met its target with gross collections rising 17% to $307,35 million on the back of
intensified audits and enforcement activities.