THE Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (Zimra) has urged taxpayers to demand tax invoices when buying goods and services to nip tax evaders, who are creaming off the economy.
BY MTHANDAZO NYONI
Zimra acting commissioner general, Happias Kuzvinzwa told NewsDay in an interview that all Zimbabweans should hold businesses accountable for their dealings by making sure that they pay tax.
“It is critical and important as media practitioners for the generality of the Zimbabweans that when you buy services and goods, demand an invoice and the invoice must be a value-added tax (VAT) invoice,” he said.
“If you encourage that (asking for invoices) and these people tell you ‘I will not give you an invoice’ and you accept that, as a Zimbabwean, then you are doing a disservice to your country because there will be no way Zimra will be able to catch those people.
“So we are calling for taxpayer education by the media to advise everybody, who is buying a service or a good to demand a tax invoice,” he said.
This comes as several reports have emerged that most Chinese businesses are flouting the country’s tax laws by failing to issue out tax invoices when conducting business.
As such, some do not have fiscal machines on their premises as per requirement.
For instance, a business is required to register for VAT if their gross sales exceed $60 000 per year and is required to keep books of accounts and instal fiscal machines on its premises.
The machines are supposed to be provided by suppliers accredited by the revenue authority.
However, the Chinese are supplying themselves with the gadgets.
Further, when tax invoices are issued out, they would not be in English an indication that their system is not linked to Zimra.
Under the law, receipts and invoices must be issued in a local language.
“The official language in this country is English. So anyone who does business in this country is compelled by law to ensure that whatever documentation they issue is in English language and not in another language that is not the official language of this country,” Kuzvinzwa said.
It was not clear what incentives whistle blowers would get, if any, for ratting out the tax cheats.
Kuzvinzwa also urged big companies to demand to see tax clearance certificates and to deal with businesses that are tax compliant.
“This is our encouragement and request that let’s join hands together and make sure that a correct message is sent to the generality of the Zimbabweans to ask for tax invoices and to deal with someone who is tax compliant,” he said.
“We can only flush out fraudsters when we demand invoices and to see when the person is compliant. If the person is not compliant and you want to do business with that person, you withhold a 10% [from what you are being charged],” he said.