Zimbabwe: Taxman Rolls Up Sleeves

Photo: The Herald
Zimbabwe pastor Walter Magaya
25 February 2019

The Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (Zimra) is set to rake in billions of dollars, thanks to an International Monetary Fund (IMF) tool that puts the tax collector in the global-best category. Zimra has targeted to collect $6,037,293,100, but the figure is likely to be surpassed due to changes in the monetary regime announced by the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) last week which floated foreign currency rates.

Tax collection is one of the key pillars underpinning the thrust of the Transitional Stabilisation Programme, the Government's short-term economic blueprint, which outlines that the country's tax policy should move towards sustainable taxation, and nurturing businesses to enhance capacity to pay their tax dues.

Additionally, TSP advocates a paradigm shift in the administration of tax policy, with tax administrators being called upon to inculcate different circumstances and peculiarities targets.

There is also now a thrust towards cooperative voluntary compliance by tax payers with regards to honouring tax obligations and lowering default rates.

In an interview last week, Acting Head Corporate Communications Mrs Inzwirashe Muwonwa told The Herald that a number of interventions would enable the authority to collect revenue better.

These include engagement of clients through their associations, taxpayer education, debt collecting measures, voluntary compliance, audits and investigations.

Further, lifestyle audits will likely rake in more, with the recent interest in controversial Prophetic Healing Deliverance (PHD) Ministries leader Prophet Walter Magaya, showing signs that the taxman could be baring teeth.

This makes the organisation competitive.

Explained Mrs Muwonwa: "Implementation of IMF's TADAT (Tax Administration Diagnostic and Assessment Tool) tool which has been done by other revenue authorities (... ) gives an analysis of the organisation's operations and areas where improvement is needed. This benchmarks ZIMRA against other revenue authorities."

She explained that when auditing companies, the audit can extend to the directors of the company as stipulated in the laws.

"There is no victimisation of individuals. Each case is determined on its own merits," she said.

Mrs Muwonwa said large clients had to date been fiscalised with focus now being on smaller businesses.

"The organisation is now targeting medium to small businesses. To date 10,214 clients have been fiscalised and the recording of sales and monitoring of clients is being done," she said.

Zimra is also working to plug leakages, especially at ports of entry.

"ZIMRA, in collaboration with other law enforcement agencies, carry out joint patrols and roadblocks to try to contain the risks posed by the porosity of our borderline," said Mrs Muwonwa.

"Any contraband encountered at such exercises is detained and the offenders are dealt with according to the dictates of the Customs & Excise Act Chapter 23:02."

Last year, Zimra managed to surpass its set target of US$5 billion, attributing the positive performance in part to the revision of the Intermediated Money Transfer Tax, price effect and enhanced compliance level from taxpayers.

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