Tanzania: Verification of Tax Stamps Viable Over Mobile Phone Possible

Simiyu — Companies and individuals can verify the authenticity of a tax stamp on various products by using their smartphones, the government has said.

The move seeks to ensure that only products with genuine stamps find their way into the market as the government strives to boost revenue collection through the use of Electronic Tax Stamps (ETS).

The commissioner for policy analysis in the ministry of Finance and Planning, Mr Mgonya Benedicto, told The Citizen here yesterday that a decision to allow individuals and companies to verify the authenticity of the tax stamps on products was meant to control unscrupulous manufacturers and traders who were posting fake stamps on their products, a development that was denying the government lots of money.

"Everyone with a smartphone will be able to verify if the stamp embedded in the product is valid and is from TRA. This will help control counterfeit stamps and thus increase government revenue through various taxes," he said.

The government embarked on the use of ETS last year in the endeavour to obtain production data in real time from the manufacturers.

The move helps the government to curb revenue leakages and also helps the government to determine in advance the amount of taxes that will be paid.

So far, the ETS - which is being rolled out by a Swiss firm, Société Industrielle et Commerciale de Produits Alimentaires (SICPA) - has registered a number of benefits to the government, with TRA reporting that the recent increase in tax collections was partly due to the system, a taxpayer education and services from Tanzania Revenue Authority (TRA), Mr Godfrey Kumwembe said yesterday.

"With the ETS, we are able to know the real rate of production and the tax rate," he told journalists here at Nyakabindi grounds during the ongoing farmers' exhibitions, commonly known as Nane Nane.

The government rolled out Phase Two (2) of Electronic Tax Stamps (ETS) on Thursday, August 1, 2019.

The TRA Commissioner General, Dr Edwin Mhede announced through a newspaper advertisement recently that in line with Regulations 29 of the ETS 2018, the second phase of the project would be rolled out on products such as sweetened or flavoured waters and other non alcoholic beverages with the exclusion of vegetable juices which has a tariff heading 20.09 according to the taxman's classifications.

"The date is announced, well in advance, in accordance with the provisions of Regulation 29 of the Electronic Tax Stamps Regulations, 2018 and that the specified products shall include all locally produced or imported... ," he said the statement.

He said TRA will announce the date for rolling out ETS on other items that have not yet been announced on a later day.

The items will include fruit or vegetable juices, water, films and music.

"TRA thanks all its taxpayers for the support and cooperation it has accorded in the implementation of Phase I," he said.

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