Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Zimra targets foreign companies evading tax

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ZIMBABWE Revenue Authority (Zimra) commissioner-general, Faith Mazani has approached President Emmerson Mnangagwa and Finance and Economic Development minister Patrick Chinamasa for help to get foreign companies to pay tax, as some of them were evading paying statutory levies.
BY TATIRA ZWINOIRA
Responding to questions from NewsDay at a recent media engagement, Mazani said Mnangagwa and Chinamasa had lent a supportive ear.
“This is something that I have actually engaged with the minister (Chinamasa) and have emphasized, even in my engagements, where I have had an opportunity to talk to the President (Mnagagwa) that ‘remember, these foreigners who are coming have an obligation’,” she said.
“They want good roads and all the things, and I did mention that for you to provide infrastructure for them, they should play their part.
“It is something that I am quite confident that, at least from the way they spoke to me, both the minister and the President are fully behind us.
“But, of course, that does not take away the risks that we have with some of the communities.”
Mazani said Zimra was engaging each nationality differently, as there was need for a bespoke approach.
“When we do our risk management, we allocate risk profiles to certain people and there are certain segments of taxpayers that have to find ways (to evade taxes).
“But, one direct response to ensure that they comply is that we no longer rely on what they tell us, we seek information from third partners such as banks,” she said.
“I know they do not send their money to the banks.
“They now receive money through mobile money and we are working with the telecommunications companies to get whatever information we can from where they buy.”
There were fears that foreign investors have come up with innovative ways to avoid paying tax.
For example, some of the tactics used to dribble tax authorities, it has been revealed, was that some investors use foreign languages on their receipts or they fail to provide value added tax or Zimra registration numbers.
On inspection, the foreign investors allegedly pretend not to be able to understand English.
In Zimra’s first quarter report, high debt continued to undermine the taxman’s efforts to enhance revenue collections.
The year started with a debt of $3,93 billion, increasing in the first quarter of 2018 by $284,17 million (7,21%) to $4,227 billion at end of quarter, mainly as a result of failure by enterprises to remit tax.