By Lincoln Towindo
The Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (Zimra) registered 20 000 new taxpayers last year as it ratcheted up efforts to increase tax compliance.
Revenues accrued to the national purse in the 11-month period to November last year subsequently rose to $4,7 billion- a figure that was $400 million more than the target.
Government’s initiatives to increase automation, reduce penalties and interest rates have helped spur compliance.
Zimra commissioner-general Ms Faith Mazani told The Sunday Mail last week that increased tax audits are also militating against both tax evasion and avoidance.
“The major strategies we have pursued to ensure that business is tax compliant is to automate processes for the convenience of taxpayers and reduction of compliance costs.
“We have also segmented taxpayers into large clients, medium and small clients and allocated liaison officers who deal with their tax issues,” said Ms Mazani.
“Zimra has also reduced penalties and interest, whilst nurturing businesses to enhance capacity to pay their tax dues. . .
“Under the 100-day goal, Zimra registered 19 484 new taxpayers in 2018, and these are being monitored by the respective liaison officers to ensure compliance.
“These new registrants contributed significantly towards the attainment of the 2018 revenue target. This is also a continuous contribution as taxpayers pay monthly,” she said.
The taxman has also heightened its interface with the market through taxpayer education services, workshops and stakeholder engagements.
Further, it also increased interaction through its website and social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter.
Zimra is currently owed more than $4 billion in unpaid taxes, of which $2,1 billion is interest and penalty charges.
The Zimbabwe Coalition on Debt and Development (Zimcodd), a non-Governmental organisation, estimates the tax compliance rate at just 30 percent.
Last year, Finance and Economic Development Minister Professor Mthuli Ncube indicated that 4 000 big businesses remained outside the tax net.
“Growing revenue collections will entail widening the tax base and also strengthening compliance levels of the more than 4 000 big businesses estimated to be operating without registering for tax purposes with Zimra. These companies are therefore outside the tax bracket.
“Pursuant to this, Zimra will be bringing in all those who are outside the tax net to also begin contributing to the fiscus.
“This also entails enhancing capacity through training of Zimra staff to be able to net all tax dodgers to ensure they also pay taxes for the realisation of the vision towards an upper middle-income society by 2030,” he said.
Treasury’s decision to rebase the economy to $25,8 billion from $18 billion means Zimra’s revenues now only contribute 18 percent of the country’s gross domestic product (GDP) from the previous 28 percent. Sunday Mail