via Bulawayo24 NEWS | Zimra launches tax blitz 27 November 2013
THE Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (Zimra) has launched a blitz on business tax evaders in Bulawayo, imposing stiff penalties on registered operators not remitting taxes to the authority. The authority is moving door-to-door as it tries to make businesses pay up what is due to the tax collector.
Some of the affected operators told Business Chronicle yesterday that the Zimra blitz was checking if their tax payment records were up to date.
“I have been paying VAT to Zimra on regular basis and it has just happened that this time around I have delayed my remittances by a few months and I have been heavily penalised,” said one of the affected operators preferring not to be named.
The operator said Zimra needed to be sincere considering that some businesses were making efforts to fulfil their tax obligations
The operator said his organisation owed Zimra $500 and was charged an interest of almost $60 and $9 000 for late submission of tax returns.
“Because Zimra is penalising even businesses that have been paying their tax regularly but have only delayed remitting by a few months, that will further discourage them from remitting tax.
“I think Zimra should be lenient on those that have been regularly remitting tax because they are making efforts under harsh economic conditions,” said the operator.
Affirmative Action Group (AAG) national vice president Mr Sam Ncube confirmed the blitz by Zimra on businesses saying the move was uncalled for taking into consideration the economic challenges prevailing in Bulawayo and in the country at large.
Since liberalisation of the economy in February 2009, the country continues to be haunted by a liquidity crunch which has affected business operations.
“We are not blaming Zimra for the blitz they have launched but we are saying it is common knowledge that Bulawayo is massively affected by the economic challenges; so the drastic measures Zimra has taken will not assist, instead this will worsen the challenges companies are facing,” said Mr Ncube.
He said imposing penalties on ailing industries was retrogressive and undermining efforts to revive industrial growth in the city.
“If other people are throwing spanners in the works, this does not mean that people don’t want to fulfil their obligations.
“There is need to understand why people are failing to own up. Government is equally to blame on why some businesses were failing to pay tax. For example, we have a scenario where certain companies supply to Government departments and are not paid on time.
When Zimra officials descend on businesses, invoices would be indicating that you sold but payment would have been delayed,” said Mr Ncube adding that some of the businesses presently operating had been in existence for 40 years and there was now no reason to evade paying tax now.
No comment could be obtained from Zimra by the time of going to print yesterday as the authority’s legal and corporate services director Ms Florence Jambwa had not responded to written questions from this paper.
Zimra recently announced it had missed its target for the third quarter, citing a sluggish economic performance in the run up to the harmonised elections.
The authority collected $897 million against a target of $904.9 million.