Industrialists: radical tax reform needed; Zimra treating those it owes refund as criminals

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By Staff Reporter

MUTARE: Former Confederations of Zimbabwe Industries (CZI) president and Tanganda Tea Company Limited Finance Director Henry Nemaire said following the coup which led to the ouster of President Robert Mugabe there is need for a serious tax reforms in the country.

Nemaire was speaking at the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (Zimra) engagement breakfast meeting held in the eastern border city recently.

He said Zimra should now change the way it operates and adopt modern ways of serving taxpayers.

“We need a serious and urgent tax reform in this country because the country has taken a different direction economically and I will give you an example, the whole culture in Zimra in my view should change,” said Nemaire.

“For example, whenever a taxpayer is due for a refund this triggers an investigation.

“In my view, if you go worldwide with other tax authorities they simply go out and pay. At times they pay out refunds that taxpayers are not expecting but in this country if you have a refund you have committed a crime,” Nemaire told the recently appointed Zimra Commissioner General Faith Mazani.

He added, “…. if Zimra is excited to pay me a refund it creates togetherness with taxpayers”.

Nemaire also said the 10 percent interest which is being charged on overdue tax by Zimra was exorbitant and called on government to review the rates before July 30.

“I would like to also talk about interest charged on overdue tax which is currently at 10 percent but we know we are borrowing at less than 7, 5 percent currently with the banks if you are a heavy negotiator.

“We know traditionally that the interest rate on overdue tax is below the borrowing rates so my expectation is that that this interest rate should be below five percent to 2, 5 percent if possible.

“We are hopeful that before July 30 this government will review this interest rate to 2, 5 percent,” he said amid thunderous applause.

In response, Mazani said they were still working on interest reviews and also re- building trust back from the taxpayers.

“Under pillars guiding our operations there is partnerships. Under that pillar, what we are saying is from the engagement I had I released that because of the culture that had come up may be with pressures for revenue we created enemies from our taxpayers and we want to build that trust back,” she said.