Zimra expands lifestyle audits
The Zimbabwe Revenue Authority wants more muscle to back tax compliance measures, while also indicating that it is widening its lifestyle audits to ferret out those who live large while evading their dues to the State.
THE tax collector wants repeat offenders jailed on the back of statistics indicating that of the US$6 billion Africa loses yearly to tax evasion, Zimbabwe alone accounts for around US$1 billion. Zimra board chairperson Mrs Willia Bonyongwe told The Sunday Mail Business that, “Many people and businesses are operating outside the tax net and it is these we want to catch to reduce the burden on those who comply.
“These are the people who cry loudest when Zimra finally catches up with them and they have to pay for up to six years before, but it is only fair to those who comply.
“The authority will continue with its anti-corruption initiatives, including effective utilisation of the anti-corruption hotline, lifestyle audits, whistle blower facility and of late, engaging our political leadership in Parliament to assist in education for the taxpayers in their various constituencies.
“Zimra is also lobbying Government to make the penalties for tax evasion more deterrent including disgorgement and even time in jail,” said Bonyongwe.
Disgorgement entails giving up illegally or unethically obtained profits, usually via a court order, and is largely viewed as a remedy rather than a punishment.
Mrs Bonyongwe said the authority remained committed to ensuring taxpayers had access to information and services at minimal cost.
Zimra has introduced a cargo tracking system at the country’s borders, and is pushing companies to fiscalise so that the authority has easy access to information pertaining to transactions, while also facilitating registration of SMEs and informal operators so that they start contributing to the national revenue base. Mrs Bonyongwe said revenue collection enhancement measures like systems automation, audits and anti-corruption initiatives were bearing fruit.
Gross collections for the third quarter of 2017 were US$1,03 billion, or 19,25 percent above the US$863,56 million target. Net collections after US$62,05 million in refunds amounted to US$967,76 million — 12,07 percent above target. The annual target is US$3,7 billion, and authorities say collections can reach US$6 billion in an environment of better tax compliance.
Mrs Willia Bonyongwe