Govt moots taxing churches

HARARE - Zimbabwe's deepening economic crisis is leading government to consider taxing cash-rich charismatic churches.

A set of laws exempts traditional churches and other recognised religious and nonprofit organisations from paying tax in Zimbabwe.

But the cash-strapped government is now considering taxation of charismatic churches which draw bumper crowds as a way to raise needed State funds.

Gershem Pasi, Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (Zimra) commissioner-general, told the parliamentary portfolio committee on Small to Medium Enterprises yesterday that the tax base was shrinking daily.

“We have our traditional churches which we had arrangements with, what they would pay to their ministers would be approved and they were not salaries but stipends,” Pasi said.

“Roman Catholic, Anglican, Methodist, their ministers are humble in terms of their lifestyles except if they have children who then support them. To them it’s a calling and they don’t care about lavish lifestyles.

“Now there is a term, ‘churchpreneurship’, we are focusing on them and we have engaged them. We want to set parameters and their investments are separate from what they get from the church.

“We have teams and a lot of work has been done. Once we get from the press or our intelligence that there is money somewhere, it’s our duty to see whether that money is legit and whether they are giving us our share.

“We don’t care how they get it, come November, we will be through with our legislative proposals which we want the minister to endorse so that we can tighten the area. We have also seen some loopholes which are being taken advantage of but they are not immune to taxation or the taxman.”

Pasi was responding to Mthokozisi Manoki-Mpofu, Zanu PF MP for Silobela, who sought the tax collector’s view on taxing churches.

Walter Magaya of Prophetic Healing and Deliverance (PHD), Emmanuel Makandiwa of United Family International Church (UFIC) and Uebert Angel of Spirit Embassy are some of the most popular new generation church leaders.

UFIC spokesperson Prime Kufa said: “I guess its appropriate to comment when it becomes law, lest we comment on things that may never happen.”

Admire Mango,  PHD overseer, was unreachable for comment.

Comments (5)

And Pasi says those who go for a bash in the beerhall after church have a calling? What calling? Eish!

machakachaka - 26 June 2015

ndokurima nechisi uku

wezhira - 26 June 2015

i hope you people knows the only thing that is holding this nation from not falling is the church.murikunamatirwa kuti tive patiri nhasi but mukafarisa muchida kudya neyamwari manyura.remember zimbabwe comes 3rd poorest nation in the world but azvisi kuoneka coz of church.itai tione.

leo jeke zingoni - 26 June 2015

Machakachaka dont judge for you not to be judged.Drinking after preaching or having some drinking habits while one is a pastor or priest doesnt take away the merit of evangelism.We are concerned about you live what you preach?Most of the now so-called pastors and priests have now become just nothing other than ruthless fortune -hunters as we can learn everyday with record setting scandals of pastors.That naturally speaks for itself.Fellow compatriots wake up and dont be fooled we are living the situation of the Russian revolution pre-scenario we it had a a pyramid of We rule you first ,secondly we fool you,thirdly we eat for you and fourth we shoot you and at the bottom we feed all.That is the current dog eat man or man eat dog scenario we are living in Zim

carson macate - 26 June 2015

Gershem Pasi, Church offerings aren't to be tempered with and if you want to see the wrath of God go ahead. Church money should only be used in fulfilling God's purpose not earthly wants. Pillar of country/nation is the Church and everything that is named is under the Church and Christ is the head of the Church. The traditional Churches referred to do not practice to the full the Gospel of Jesus Christ and they ignore the ministry of the Holy Spirit who is the Lord of harvest, no wonder they have failed to grow. Only in Christianity is there fellowship with God and every Christian should be filled with the Holy Spirit and speaking in tongues. One will only understand the Bible when he/she gets born again and receives the Holy Spirit and also have the ability to understand the Bible and have insight into the mysteries and secrets of the Kingdom, finances, business, studies etc. The accurate teaching of the Bible will put you way above in life; these Pastors of so called charismatic church have understood kingdom principles of finance because God has a financial system for His children and whosoever follows them would be so rich that others will even envy him. Isaiah 1:19TLB reads, '' If you will only let me help you, if you will only obey, then I will make you rich!''. This a Sovereign declaration of the Almighty God and how then can a minister be poor that his children end up supporting him financial. Its an illusion that living a beggarly life whilst a Mufundisi (minister) is part of your calling thus absolutely a misunderstanding of the Bible they are practicing religion. The government is not alone in ruining Zimbabwe but recognition of mediums is also to blame; and the current youth who fill these churches are on the right path for the understand the word of God better than the elderly. Rather ask them to intercede on your behalf, on behalf of your clueless government now wanting to rob God.

Dee - 28 June 2015

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