Arusha — Businesses here have been urged to pay taxes voluntarily as required by law.
They need not worry about harassment by Tanzania Revenue Authority (TRA) officials, as was the case in the past.
"The era of harassments is over," said Walter Maeda, the newly re-elected chair of the regional chapter of the Tanzania Chamber of Commerce, Industry and Agriculture (TCCIA).
He said unlike until very recently, TRA and the business community have harmonized their relations on matters pertaining to payment of tax.
Mr Maeda, who is the director of Golden Rose Hotels, gave the assurances on Friday after he was re-elected chairman of the chamber for another four years. He said physical harassments, including closure of shops, subjected to businessmen in the past are not likely to recur.
"If you are going to close businesses where are you going to get tax?" he asked, recalling the days when TRA task forces raided shops here in search of tax revenues. He, however, cautioned the business community that improved relations with TRA was no excuse not to honour tax payment as per law.
Mr Maeda was first elected as TCCIA regional chairman in 2017 and has steered the organization during the stormy times of fracas between traders and TRA. His remarks came days after the TRA Commissioner General Alphayo Kidata conducted a series of dialogue meetings with taxpayers in Arusha.
He told businessmen and women on how TRA has improved voluntary payment of government revenues without any squabbles like in the recent past. According to Mr Kidata, one of the measures being taken is to repair the electronic fiscal devices (EFDs) used by the clients.
But, speaking at the meeting held at the Arusha International Conference Centre (AICC), the Arusha regional commissioner, John Mongela, said there were still tax evading traders.
He said tax collectors could still be deployed to look for such evaders because they denied the government badly needed revenues to finance development projects.
Such defaulters, he said, include people selling fake or counterfeits goods in the local markets, adding that some EFDs were better disposed off as they were not working.
Arusha, the safari capital of Tanzania and hub of multi-million dollar tourism industry, contributes 5.2 percent of the total public revenues after Dar es Salaam and Mwanza.