Zimra to realise $40m from tax amnesty

HARARE - The Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (Zimra) Commissioner-General Gershem Pasi says the taxman assessed about $40 million tax claims during its tax amnesty last year.

Speaking on the side-lines of the International Customs Day commemorations in the capital yesterday, Pasi said the authority was now going after the clients who had not come forward during the amnesty.

“The amnesty period is over. We are busy adding up the numbers. As at the last time I got a bulletin on it— we had assessed more than $40 million, this is because we did not charge interests to anyone who came forward during this time…

“$40 million was assessed as of end of December 2015, and with the ICT we are talking about we mean business… Those who did not take advantage of the amnesty will only have themselves to blame because now they have to pay with interest,” he said.

In 2014, government made a provision for tax defaulters to approach the authority with payment plans, but Zimra had to continuously extend the deadline as companies were not forthcoming.

The initial provision granted a limited tax amnesty for a period of six months, with effect from October 1, 2014, but was extended to March 31, 2015 and then again to June 30 and subsequently to December 31, 2015.

Pasi is on record saying once the amnesty period runs out, the taxman will “descend on all unyielding defaulters”

At the end of February 2015, only

1 471 applications had been received, versus over $1 billion owed to the authority in outstanding dues.

The amnesty was in respect to any non-compliance which occurred during the period beginning February 1, 2009 to September 30, 2014, according to Zimra with issues already under investigation not covered by the amnesty.

The Zimra chief also said the money owed to the authority by clients had surpassed the $1 billion recorded last year.

“Presently, I do not have a figure of exactly how much the authority is owed by clients as right now we are still waiting for our auditors to complete the work.  But the figure is certainly higher than last year,” he said.

The taxman said the tax collector was in an automation drive, with all systems expected to be fully automated in the next 24 months.

Zimra missed its net cumulative revenue collection for the third quarter of 2015 by nine percent at $2,5 billion, behind the $2,7 billion recorded prior comparative period as most tax heads under-performed due to a weakening economy.

Pasi yesterday said the tax authority was likely going to miss its target for the fourth quarter of 2015, but “fall within the 10 percent provision”.

At $878,2 million, the taxman’s net collections were 91,1 percent of the targeted collections of $964 million.

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