‘Zimbabwe needs serious tax reform; Zimra must change culture of doing business’

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By Staff Reporter

MUTARE: Confederations of Zimbabwe (CZI) past-president, Henry Nemaire, has called for “serious tax reforms’, adding that the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (ZIMRA) also needs to adopt “modern ways” of serving taxpayers.

Nemaire, who is also finance director at Tanganda Tea Campany, was speaking at a ZIMRA engagement meeting held in eastern border city recently.

He said the shift was particularly needed now after last November’s change of government.

“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.”

He said that culture creates non-compliance, adding “but if ZIMRA is excited to pay me a refund it creates a togetherness with taxpayers”.

Nemaire also said the 10 percent interest 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 traditional 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 added amid applause from guests attending the meeting.

In response, newly appointed ZIMRA Commissioner General Faith Mazani said they were still working on “interest reviews” and also re-building with taxpayers.

“Under pillars guiding our operations there is partnerships,” she said.

“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.”