Broke govt raids churches

HARARE - A surprise raid on Walter Magaya’s Prophetic Healing and Deliverance (PHD) church by the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (Zimra) has accentuated fears that the skint government has started a blitz on churches to boost its finances.

This has, however, been greeted with shock by the clergy, with some churches expressing a state of “confusion” over government’s intentions.

While Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa told Parliament in July that government had “no plans to tax churches except for business ventures run on a commercial basis”, Zimra reportedly stormed Magaya’s offices this week to demand a list of people who have benefited from his donations since he started his church a few years ago.

The Zimra public relations department had not responded to written questions on the latest raid at the time of going to print.

“We are not going to tax prayers, but every business should pay taxes, it does not matter if it is run by churches, but that business will be taxed,” Mnangagwa said while responding to a question by Bikita West Zanu PF MP Munyaradzi Kereke.

Zimra boss, Gershem Pasi, had earlier told the parliamentary portfolio committee on Small to Medium Enterprises that only traditional churches including the Roman Catholic, Anglican, and Methodist whose ministers “are humble in terms of their lifestyles” would be spared.

“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,” he said.

“Once we get from 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,” the Zimra boss said.

One of the churches under Pasi’s radar Emmanuel Makandiwa’s United Family International Church (UFIC) told the Daily News yesterday that the discord from the tax authorities was bewildering.

“We really do not know what is taking place here,” Prime Kufa, the church’s spokesperson said.

“ We are now confused and do not know what will happen because the last time we heard about it, government said churches would not be taxed,” the UFIC official said.

Economist John Makamure of the Southern African Parliamentary Support Trust said in the absence of enabling legislation, government could not tax churches.

“Instead, government should not pursue such fire-fighting measures as they will not help,” he said.

“What is needed is for authorities to work on growing the national cake so they can get revenue from legitimate tax and non-tax measures after attracting foreign direct investment,” Makamure said.

Another commentator Christopher Mugaga of the Zimbabwe National Chamber of Commerce said: “We are gathering from the people during the ongoing 2016 national budget consultations that they think churches should pay tax.”

Comments (25)

there is what called donation tax which magaya should pay on the donations that he is making. he is follish enough to think that association with grace flaunting 50k for a clumsy biography will save him from the blushes of this rogue zanu regime. inonzi zindakupa zindakutorera nezanu, bvunzai kudakwashe basket!!!

josphat mugadzaweta - 30 September 2015

ZIMRA should just bring back whistle blowing back & they will soon get money, this tax amnesty is not going to work

Sector - 30 September 2015

You want to tax God's money (Tithes and Offering)? Then you are inviting more misery upon this already miserable country. Instead you should be asking those men of God what you can do to take out Zimbabwe from the dust bin rather than taxing those churches. If you want to see Zimbabwe, a very poor nation, the proceed taxing churches. What you are doing is like drying all water wells, dams and start expecting water. No guys. Kana tichitambura nhasi tisiri kutaxer machechi, what about when we start taxing churches. Gentlemen, we need to think twice otherwise we are heading for a disaster. Madhamu anooma mvura aya, iyo mvura yacho inotadza kunaya zvachose, mighodhi ndarama inoshaikwa iyi, tichatadza kurima zvachose sekutamba nekuda nokuda kwe $10000 here vakomana. Why shld we fight God? And who has fought God and won? Guys pafungei. that $10000 or whatever amount is useless considering what our faithful God is doing to Zimbabwe.

kkkkk - 30 September 2015

guys let us think through this issue not to just say things for the purpose of just saying ...from my own point of view churches must be taxed but they muts come up with a systematic way of doing it....churches are making money from non prayer business like some have got foodoutlets, gusets houses and some colleges are these business of God or the are run by people do the church pay tithe or it is paid by believers ...zimra go on with your idea is very goood and excellent, brilliant idea ..you can raise funds through this but do it in a smart

emutekwa - 1 October 2015

I see no problem in ZIMRA taxing purely business activities run by churches. Go, ZIMRA, Go!

Lance - 1 October 2015

emutekwa, that one (taxing churches) is extremely not a brilliant idea. You are mentioning that some churches have got food outlets etc but do you know that if that church fails to do that, they will not hold any service. Where I go, for us to hold only one service at any particular day, we need more than $15000. If we are to rely on tithes and offering, do you think we can have one service? The services are very good coz haurambi wakadaro nokuda kwe one service only. Siyai vaite zvavanoda asi kutaxer machurches is like digging our own grave for the whole nation. Bvunzai vanhu vaMwari munzwe kuti Mwari vanoti chii than kutanga mazvicherera guva kudaro. Mind you taxing a church cannot be compared to taxing KKK PVT LTD. whereby taxing the church you will be poking out your nose into God's kingdom asi haasi ese zvawo.

kkkkk - 1 October 2015

ZvaKesari kuna Kesari.

Zvidhuura Zatya - 1 October 2015

Its really surprising. Taxing the church of God is taxing God. All silver and gold belongs to Him, so why tax God, it is like asking Him mow much he has. Here is a word of prophecy though I am not a prophet. Come the month of November the country situation is going to worsen. I mean there would be no longer enough notes in circulation. The country might run dry in terns of money. Food is also to run scarce. Beware what you guys are doing. The country can be cursed because of silly mistakes done all in the hope of making ends meet but meeting wrongly.

Radson Zulu - 1 October 2015

these people who think that zimra are taxing god are not believers . because tell me how do these so called preachers become multi millionaires I would love to become a preacher

Jungle Man - 1 October 2015

In the UK government instead of taxing churches they donate to the church under what they call gift aid. For a every dollar that people give to the church government give 25% of that on top. So at the end of each year, churches that are registered they declare whatever they have received from members either as tithes or offerings and the charities commission will give 25% of that amount to the church. In South Africa, closer home again government does not tax the church. However if people are churches are running businesses for profit making, every business should be taxed. Churches should be transparent and accountable. Lack of transparency and accountability is the reason some man of God start pushing negative energy when government say let's look into your activities. If it's transparent and holy why fear?

Papa - 1 October 2015

If the churches are for the people why should they not contribute to the fiscus which benefits the people. Pastors and the church are different and they have to be taxed. I support this tax very strongly. If there is need for legislation, can it be fast tracked so that Zimra does not continue losing revenue.

Let us share - 2 October 2015

i cannot help think that even those who received a beating from the Lord Jesus himself thought their bushiness in the temple was God's business.

meaky - 2 October 2015

Taxing churches is like digging your own grave..... Mr Pasi do you want to be called the one who brings a curse upon a nation, think how your children are going to do in a nation you have caused to go down by one silly decision. THIS IS DANGEROUS STOP IT

worrying citizen - 2 October 2015

Church that have schools, hospitals, clinics or any other community based alleviation programs should not be taxed. Alternatively, to guard against fly by night churches, only churches that are more than 20/25 years old should be exempt from taxes.

Tax evader - 2 October 2015

Ivo Baba vekudenga vanoti isai chegumi kuti imba yangu isaita zhara. pafunge!

Susan - 4 October 2015

ndosakamadhamu avakupera mvura suddenly without anyone noticing. ndiyomviromviro dzacho, more surprises to come. pharaoh did the same to the iralites, but God proved that he is mighty. nhamo yenyika haipedzwi nekutaxa machechi, govt should craft sound policies which promote investments, not waffling to tax chuches.

wezhiraaa - 11 October 2015

ndosakamadhamu avakupera mvura suddenly without anyone noticing. ndiyomviromviro dzacho, more surprises to come. pharaoh did the same to the iralites, but God proved that he is mighty. nhamo yenyika haipedzwi nekutaxa machechi, govt should craft sound policies which promote investments, not waffling to tax chuches.

wezhiraaa - 11 October 2015

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