Patriots for Economic Progress Leader Sean Tembo has noted with sadness that the COVID-19 tax relief measures that have been implemented by the Zambia Revenue Authority as instructed by the Minister of Finance last week are rewarding non-compliant taxpayers while at the same time offering no reward to compliant taxpayers.
Mr Tembo notes that the measures which consist of waivers for penalties and interest upon meeting certain conditions are concentrated on non compliant businesses at the expense of compliant ones.
He said the purpose and primary objective of a tax authority such as ZRA is to maximize tax collection by encouraging compliance among taxpayers therefore, any kind of promotion which the Zambia Revenue Authority runs must be designed to encourage tax compliance by rewarding compliant taxpayers and punishing non-compliant taxpayers.
Mr Tembo has however noted that in this particular instance, the Zambia Revenue Authority is doing the exact opposite by rewarding non-compliant taxpayers through waivers of penalties and interest while offering no reward whatsoever to those taxpayers that have been faithfully compliant over the years.
We would have been happy if ZRA had designed a package to reward compliant taxpayers as part of its COVID-19 relief package. This is important because for as long as ZRA only rewards bad behavior, the compliant taxpayers are likely to feel neglected and unappreciated, which has the potential to undermine future tax collections by the Authority”, he said.
Mr Tembo has since appealed to both the Zambia Revenue Authority and the Ministry of Finance to apply adequate thought in formulating economic intervention policies, so that such policies do not undermine the future performance of key institutions, as the case is in this matter.
He has added that sound Government policies can only be formulated through adequate consultation and input of key stakeholders, and not by a few elites, to the exclusion of the governed.