Taxman in voluntary compliance

HARARE - The Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (Zimra) is strengthening voluntary compliance measures in order to tackle rampant tax evasion, the tax collector’s chief Faith Mazani, has said.

This comes as the issue of tax corruption and evasion has become complex countrywide with experts likening it to organised crime.

Zimbabwe’s compliance rate is only 25 percent, with the majority of the taxable activities finding illegal ways to operate outside the tax net.

Mazani said Zimra is now working around the clock to bring in those activities into the net in order to share the tax burden across all taxpayers.

“It is Zimra’s thrust to cultivate and foster a culture of voluntary compliance among its clients as well as taxpayers.

“This will drastically reduce the cost of compliance on your part while reducing administrative costs for Zimra,” she told delegates during a workshop for local authorities on Tuesday.

“We want to move away from enforcing compliance through penalties by ensuring compliance through arming clients with full knowledge that will see you voluntarily complying with the tax legislation.”

She said this will not happen on its own, adding it would take engagements where the tax collector will give stakeholders a peak into the paradigm shift that Zimra has taken to empowering its clients with regard to compliance.

“Investigations Division has been rebranded to Revenue Assurance and Special Projects as we vigorously pursue the goal where our clients will voluntarily determine and remit the requisite taxes,” said Mazani.

She encouraged taxpayers to utilise various instruments at their disposal including the right to appeal decisions made by the commissioner general as well as making use of Zimra hotlines.

“Zimra hotlines can be used to report corrupt Zimra officials and other issues,” Mazani said.

“…If taxpayers do not understand certain transactions, they can get a ruling on the treatment for taxation. However, this ruling cannot be appealed against.”

Zimra has said it is trying to reduce the opportunity for corruption through systems and automation.

The tax collector has also turned to using independent hotlines and forensic audits but is yet to eliminate graft despite the few celebrated victories.

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