17 July 2018

Tanzania: TRA Ups Revenues, Misses Target

DESPITE boosting revenue collections to 15.5tri/- in the 2017/18 fiscal year, Tanzania Revenue Authority (TRA) missed its annual target by almost nine per cent.

The country's revenue collection agency registered a 7.5 per cent rise in collected revenues, from 14.4tri/- in 2016/17 to 15.5tri/- last year, but missed its 17tri/- target.

TRA Director for Taxpayers Services and Education Richard Kayombo yesterday attributed the revenue surge to improved tax payers' registration system and massive awareness campaign on the importance of paying tax.

Addressing reporters in Dar es Salaam, Mr Kayombo said tax collection had increased by 7.5 per cent but remained short of the agency's target to collect 17tri/- by June 30, 2018.

He said last month alone, TRA collected 1.5tri/-, up from 1.4tri/- collected during the corresponding period last year.

"An increase in revenue collection was equally contributed by our strategy to bring all taxpayers close, increasing the number of people who respect their tax obligations as well as simplify tax payment through electronic system, among others," said Mr Kayombo.

During the 2018/2019 fiscal year, TRA seeks to increase tax collections to 18tri/-, Mr Kayombo said, adding that in the year, TRA is fully committed to execute its campaign to reduce the burden of accumulated debts in taxes to traders.

Addressing the 11th Tanzania National Business Council's (TNBC) meeting at State House in Dar es Salaam last March, President John Magufuli directed Finance and Planning Minister Dr Philip Mpango and TRA Commissioner General Charles Kichere to meet and deliberate on the best strategies to reduce the burden of backlog taxes to traders.

He issued the directive after the business community raised concern over outstanding debts that were accumulated over many years.

Dr Magufuli ordered the ministry and TRA to meet with businesspeople and renegotiate on the outstanding amount that can fairly be paid to ease the tax burden that threatens many businesses in the country.

"We should have a human face and avoid being too rigid because the government relies on the business community to raise revenues," said Dr Magufuli, arguing that if for instance the businessperson owes TRA money that was accumulated in 10 years, the taxman can forego five years and collect the amount accumulated for five years with the view of improving the country's business environment.

Mr Kayombo yesterday asked all traders who had outstanding accumulated debts in taxes to visit TRA offices countrywide and lodge applications to have their debts waived or reduced.

He said traders have up to November 30 to submit their requests and the accumulated debts have to be cleared by June 2019.

The Director paid tribute to all tax payers who have been respecting their tax obligations, asking all people to continue paying their taxes through Electronic Fiscal Devices (EFDs) as well as demanding receipts whenever they pay for products or services.

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