Oliver Kazunga Senior Business Reporter
THE Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (Zimra) has moved to enhance client convenience by introducing online tax clearance for businesses as part of the modernisation of customs and tax administration systems.
The tax authority said it has made strides in revolutionising its operations by implementing several tailor-made strategies and introducing innovative products.
“ZIMRA has introduced electronic filing for clients under the Self Assessment of Income Tax system. This system will mean that clients can submit their returns electronically without visiting any ZIMRA station,” it said in a statement.
Businesses that include small to medium enterprises are required to meet tax obligations such as presumptive tax, income tax, value added tax, Pay As You Earn and withholding tax.
Zimra said coupled with the direct banking concept, which the revenue authority introduced in 2004 where clients can settle their tax and duty obligations in the comfort of their banks, it also introduced electronic filing to reduce compliance costs for clients.
“High compliance costs and burdensome procedures are some of the factors that hinder voluntary tax compliance and by introducing products that directly benefit clients; Zimra has made complying with revenue laws easier,” it said.
Upon noting that Zimra was owed over $1 billion in unpaid taxes, the revenue authority last year introduced a tax amnesty in respect of non-compliance to statutory obligations that occurred during the period beginning February 1, 2009 to September 30, 2014.
A tax amnesty is a limited-time opportunity for a specified group of taxpayers to pay a defined amount, in exchange for forgiveness of a tax liability that includes interest and penalties relating to a previous tax period and without fear of criminal prosecution.
The amnesty was extended twice last year following a request by the tax collector’s clients for more time to meet their tax obligations.
Businesses are required by law to keep records of all their operations and pay provisional tax on stipulated dates known as quarterly payment dates.
The provisional tax is based on the respective percentage of estimated annual tax due.