Vice President Mphoko against church tax

Vice President Phelekezela Mphoko

Vice President Phelekezela Mphoko

Mashudu Netsianda Senior Reporter
VICE-President Phelekezela Mphoko has condemned the taxing of churches by the Government, arguing that they could not be “taxed twice” since they were already paying tithes to God.

Speaking soon after donating about 3,000 chicks to communities in Nketa-Emganwini constituency in Bulawayo yesterday, VP Mphoko said by virtue of paying tithes to God, the churches were already paying tax.

“Churches in actual fact pay tithes to God and they have a way of doing it and therefore I believe taxing them is something strange. Churches should only pay tithes to God and as a Christian I don’t think it’s the right thing (to tax them),” said VP Mphoko.

“How do you tax churches? They pay tithes to God and you go on to tax them. I surely don’t understand that.”

The Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (Zimra), in a notice posted on its website, said churches or religious organisations were required to perform certain statutory and tax obligations as prescribed in the respective legislative provisions.

The revenue collector warned that in the event that churches failed to comply or fulfil the statutory obligations of paying the tax due, they would be forced to pay penalties and interest.

According to Zimra, churches are not exempt from the payment of Value Added Tax (VAT). They are expected to pay the tax when purchasing or consuming certain goods and services subject to tax.

Zimra was scheduled to start levying churches’ income derived from trade or investments from January this year.

The changes to the Income Tax Act that were brought about by the Finance Act that was signed into law last year in November by President Mugabe, provide for the taxation of “any ecclesiastical, charitable or educational institution.”

“Section 14 (Income tax for periods of assessment after 1.1.10) (l) of the Finance Act (Chapter 23:04) is amended by the insertion of the following definition:- ‘company’ or ‘trust’, is deemed to include a reference to any ecclesiastical, charitable or educational institution to the extent that any part of the income of such institution is derived from trade or investment, not being income from trade or investment,” the law says in part.

Presenting the mid-term policy statement reviewing the 2015 National Budget in Parliament in July last year, Finance and Economic Development Minister Patrick Chinamasa announced several austerity measures that include new levies and taxes on churches.

On plans to tax churches, the Minister said the tax would be on their income-generating projects. Most newer churches earn much income from such projects.

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  • Amai veZimbabwe

    VP Mphoko should be careful. He has been stepping out of line a lot recently.

    It is sad to see a once loyal cadre making comments like this contrary to government policy.

    Even worse when he said: “I didn’t take anyone’s wife,” which we are sure did not refer to President Mugabe and Amai President Dr Mugabe but is sufficiently ambiguous to allow mischievous opposition members to claim that Cde Mphoko was insulting the First Family. The VP needs to clarify his comments NOW.

  • gift nxumalo

    stop fooling us.

  • chakanetsa

    Churches are now business from way things are run

  • koka

    Mphoko uzaba ngumphako very soon baba. mind your language. zanu does not take lightly to opposition. anyway where were you when this law was passed? you should have opposed it then.

  • mamyot

    Makandiwa, Magaya, and many others make millions in a week. Every where in the wolrd governments have realised that churches are business. When people pay huge sums of money to an individual governments would tax that money to distribute to the poor. Church leaders have jets and charter personal flights. They are crooks as well, you know TP Joshua of Nigeria who was even cheating on information about a church building he constructed by declaring a false bill of quantities and lying to congregants that his building complied with municipal laws on buildings. All chirches now pay tax and even non-governmental organisations pay tax, they have to declare their income and where they got the money from it is a world-wide practice now.

  • Kleptocrat

    Churches RECEIVE tithes. Those tithes are tax free income to the churches. . Members of the church PAY tithes to the Church. Is Mphoko therefore suggesting that people who pay tithes should not pay income tax?

  • MARIJATA GRACE WA GONO

    Please forgive Mpoko,he was too busy at the hotel with his wife ……whenthe law was passed