12 December 2018

Tanzania: TRA Deflects Query On New Property Tax Rates

Dar es Salaam — The taxman, Tanzania Revenue Authority (TRA), has vowed to implement the directive issued by President John Magufuli on new property tax rates immediately despite complaints that it is against the law.

Speaking to The Citizen yesterday, the TRA director of tax payers' education, Mr Richard Kayombo, said they have already begun implementing the directive on new property tax rates.

The directive seeks to charge Sh10,000 for ordinary houses countrywide, Sh20,000 for storeys in the rural areas and Sh50,000 for storeys in urban areas.

"We are implementing the government's directive on new property tax rates without delay," said Mr Kayombo.

In June 2017, the minister for Finance and Planning, Dr Philip Mpango, was quoted in the parliamentary session as saying that the government was planning to introduce new rates, which would be applicable countrywide.

The principal information officer of the Finance and Planning ministry, Mr Ben Mwaipaja, also stressed the new Presidential directive on property tax should be taken seriously by all Tanzanians. "We call upon all citizens to abide by the Presidential directive. The ministry has already started working his directive, so every owner of a building should get prepared," Mr Mwaipaja said.

However, the president of Tanganyika Law Society (TLS), Ms Fatma Karume, said yesterday that the Presidential directive on reduction of property tax rates was unconstitutional.

She said, according to the constitution, the government should propose for amendment of finance bill on that and submit to the Parliament for approval.

The TLS president said that if such directive sails through without passing to the Parliament it will be implemented contrary to the law.

"I wonder why the constitution is not respected. It will also lead to discrimination of tax payers because there are already people who have paid property tax rates under the amendment of Finance Act, 2018, which started to be implemented during the 2018/19 financial year," Ms Karume said.

When she was asked whether they were set to file a petition in the High Court for proper interpretation of the constitution on such issue, she said: "I am tired of working with Swahili people because this just a normal governance issue." Said the TLS president.

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