The Sunday News
THE Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (Zimra) will start to access third party information from different Government databases and financial institutions to track companies and individuals that are not paying taxes as the tax collector ups its efforts to improve revenue collection.
In addition, Zimra will also swoop on the Small and Medium companies by ensuring that all the bodies and institutions that govern and register them only complete the processes after the businesses have also registered for tax compliance.
Zimra commissioner-general Ms Faith Mazani told delegates who attended a breakfast seminar organised by the tax collector last week during the Zimbabwe International Trade Fair (ZITF) in Bulawayo that her company would now snoop for data from Government departments that deal with business and then make follow-ups to see if the companies were also paying taxes.
“Zimra will also access different third party information databases like the Registrar of Deeds and Companies, Zinara, NSSA, Zimstat, RBZ (Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe) and other banks to bring unregistered tax payers into the database and grow our tax base,” she said.
The Registrar of Deeds and Companies have a database of all official companies that are operating in the country, while the other organisations keep information including financial transactions of businesses and companies.
Ms Mazani said Zimra will also work with regional and international revenue collection agencies in the region and internationally to fully utilise the provisions of exchange of information agreements and protocols signed under the different regional blocs and monitor Zimbabwe companies.
She said Zimra will monitor trade between Zimbabwean companies and regional trade blocs such as Comesa and Sadc.
On the issue of small companies, Ms Mazani said the tax collector was now adopting a right from start approach where it will work with those registering the companies to ensure they comply with tax provisions in the country.
Zimra has been struggling to tap into the SMES sector which has over the years grown to become one of the key sectors of the economy.
Last year Zimra issued a directive for SMES to formally register with the tax collector and although more than 18 000 reportedly registered, more are still to comply.
“For small business which is the area we feel we need to put more effort, we intend to implement the right from start approach where we partner with different institutions in Government that register and regulate small businesses to register the small business for tax purposes and to provide tax education before the registrations,” she said.
If implemented, it means organisations such as Zimbabwe Miners Federation which controls thousands of small-scale miners will only allow membership to miners that are tax compliant.
Ms Mazani said companies should religiously pay their obligations to allow Zimra to collect enough money to support social and economic programmes that are being implemented by the Government in its quest to achieve a middle-income economy by 2030.
“We urge businesses to pay their taxes in time and those still owing must come forward to agree on payment plans that will allow their businesses to continue operating. It is not in our interest that businesses close but we need the business to pay their dues,” she said.
Zimra, she added, will continue to implement measures to plug corruption.
“Zimra will implement strategies to plug corruption, tax invasion, smuggling, money laundering and other illicit financial inflows and unethical business practices. We will continue to identify non-tax compliance through our lifestyle audits, our hotline and whistle blower programmes to enforce compliance by prosecution and garnishing orders to collect outstanding taxes.”
She said Zimra will also assign its officers to the Zimbabwe Investment Development Agency (Zida) to help Government to attract investment into the country.
ZIda will be Government’s one-stop initiative to ensure business registration is done promptly to promote ease of doing business.