TRA to award people exposing tax evaders
The Tanzania Revenue Authority (TRA) has called upon the public to team up with the authority in the fight against unscrupulous traders, who evade paying taxes.
Speaking ahead of the 15th Annual Value Added Tax Administration (VADA) conference here yesterday, TRA Commissioner, Patrick Kassera said the authority has come up with a new approach to address tax evasion in the country.
He said among the strategies includes; awarding people who give tips on people who evade paying taxes, taking into account that the authority alone cannot win the war against tax evaders.
Citing other measures the official said that TRA is trying to sensitise the public on the importance of paying taxes, taking into account that tax compliance is very low in Tanzania.
Allover the country TRA has 3,600 staff, out of which 68 percent are tax auditors, a situation which makes it difficult for the authority to address tax evasion.
“This is what makes us seek support from the general public,” Kasera said, adding, “We have a special package for people who will assist TRA to nub the culprits…anyone who have substantial evidence on those people who avoid paying taxes.”
The official boasted that TRA is currently collecting an average of 600bn/- a month, and Value Added Tax (VAT) accounts for 38 percent.
He however warned ordinary people who buy goods from Duty-Free stores which are meant for members of armed forces, with the intention of avoiding tax.
The commissioner said that the government had good intention when decided to provide duty-free services for members of the Tanzania People’s Defense Forces (TPDF) as a privilege for those who have devoted their lives on behalf of millions of Tanzanians.
According to him, shops located at army bases should not be treated as tax-free shopping malls for ordinary civilians because in doing so they are robbing the state from its rightful source of revenues.
For his part, TRA Special Duty Director, Mugisha Kamugisha discouraged some Tanzanians who benefit from the duty-free shops which are for TPDF soldiers, calling the perpetuators to stop from doing the vice as doing so is to evade paying taxes.
TRA officials expressed their worries of meeting the government’s targets of collecting 8.2trn/- this year. The worries are built on the fact that the tax collection exercise is facing a number of challenges.
Right now there are about 1,016,000 million business entities registered from which VAT will be collected across Tanzania.
Commenting on the VADA meeting which kicks-off today in Arusha, TRA Deputy Commissioner for Domestic Revenue, Christine Shekide said the forum includes revenue administrators from 15 African countries, whereby they will be exchanging experiences and learn from each other on how best to implement the relatively new broad-based VAT administration.
Tax collectors from 15 African countries including Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania, Rwanda, Botswana, Ethiopia, Ghana, Cote d’Ivoire, Lesotho, Malawi, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Togo, Zambia and Zimbabwe are attending the two-day annual tax conference.
SOURCE: THE GUARDIAN