Saturday, June 15, 2024

There has to be justice and fairness in the manner various taxes are enforced by the ZRA

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Tax Appeals Tribunal Chairperson Fraser Chishimba has called for justice and fairness in the manner various taxes are enforced by the Zambia Revenue Authority (ZRA).

The Tax Appeals Tribunal is a statutory institution under the Ministry of Finance and National Planning that hears grievances relating to tax matters regarding decisions made by the Zambia Revenue Authority.

The tribunal on Tuesday held a public sitting in Ndola where it heard a case in which Luanshya farmer Abson Sakala is accusing ZRA of overtaxing him on an imported vehicle that was damaged in a road accident on the Tanzanian side before being cleared at Nakonde Border.

Mr. Sakala is contending that it was unfair for ZRA to tax him about K13, 000 over a damaged vehicle now valued around K16, 000.

He lodged his appeal to the Tax Appeals Tribunal praying that it compels ZRA to reduce taxes on the vehicle in question.

Speaking to reporters after the northern circuit public hearing in the Ndola Council Chambers, Mr. Chishimba urged more members of the public with tax complaints against ZRA to appeal to the tribunal.

He said many people have a tendency of not complaining formally despite having tax related grievances against ZRA.

Mr. Chishimba cited some of the common appeals as relating to income tax, customs and excise duty plus mines and minerals tax.

“The point to remember is that the Tax Appeals Tribunal is a statutory body created by the Act of Parliament to hear grievances from Zambia Revenue Authority. You know the role of ZRA is to collect taxes but the same law reminds us that the government recognises that in the course of collecting those taxes there could be unfairness, mistreatment and just excessive taxes for one reason or another. Hence this body (Tax Appeals Tribunal). Awareness starts with citizens knowing which laws the government is creating. I think that a number of our citizens are not utilizing the functions of the Tax Appeals Tribunal because some people will just say it is OK they (ZRA) have told me it is like this. I will just leave it. Ignoring tax related complaints does not help because things must be done better,” Mr. Chishimba said.

Meanwhile, Mr. Sakala expressed happiness that the Tax Appeals Tribunal managed to hear his case and said he is now looking forward to the judgment day.

“I want to appreciate that the case has been heard so we just wait for judgment. My complaint is regarding a vehicle. I was involved in a road accident in Tanzania when I went to pick a vehicle. When I was coming back from Tanzania with a vehicle which was damaged and became a non runner I disputed paying K13, 000. I was appealing to ZRA to consider that I pay less than K13, 000. The case has taken almost a year that is why I had to appeal to the Tax Appeals Tribunal,” Mr. Sakala said.

Ndola Mayor Jones Kalyati challenged the Tax Appeals Tribunal to widely publicize its activities saying there were many people with tax related grievances against ZRA.

“It is a good thing to learn that the Tax Appeals Tribunal is sitting here in Ndola. I have encouraged the Tax Appeals Tribunal to advertise more and do a lot of publicity. People do not seem to know that the Tax Appeals Tribunal exists. It is important that people know the procedure for people with complaints and generally the operations of the tribunal. People of Ndola, especially those involved in business, must know how to go about tax related complaints,” Mr. Kalyati said.

From its inception in 1999, the Tax Appeals Tribunal has disposed of over 608 cases with only 37 being filled to the High Court of Zambia.

During the period January 2018 to June 2022, the tribunal recorded an excess of K2,109,845.40 in disputed taxes.

12 COMMENTS

  1. Our tax regime doesn’t support growth, it’s like we’re financing a war. How do you tax income at 37.5%? Some taxes don’t make sense. While large multinational corporations are given longer period tax holidays and even when they graduate are made to pay a paltry 3.1% on turnover, smaller Zambian corporation are making less 800pin per annum per 4% and the rest an average 37.5%. This is insanity. And sometimes those chaps an ZRA are overzealous, especially if you import anything. Who decided that ASCODA fees should be at K500? There shouldn’t be any fee

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  2. “He said many people have a tendency of not complaining formally despite having tax-related grievances against ZRA.”-LT

    IMF are you reading the above article

    “You can’t have your cake and eat it too” doesn’t apply to GRZ.

    That’s why we can’t fight predatory lending. When you’re on Government is imposing unfair, deceptive, abusive taxes terms that strip the taxpayers of equity. Unfair taxation disproportionately affects women, Grade seven and below, and poor communities.

    “The United States recalled its ambassador to Zambia on Monday after he criticized the government for sending a gay couple to prison and accused officials of stealing millions of dollars of public funds.”-The New York Times.

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  3. Surprising with the existence of Tax Appeals Tribunal (TAT) the tax system in the country is too high compared with the neighbouring nations. TAT should expand its functions further to advocate for real fair tax application as Zambians import various items into the country. Currently, the Zambian tax regime is as if meant to protect home grown industries from stiff competition from out side and yet there is no/ or little production in our local industries that need protection. The current tax application is more punitive than mere revenue collection for the nation. There has been discovery of huge tax losses to the nation by individuals importing goods under the pretext of government when in fact not. For instance, a private medical hospital imported its equipment tax free and currently…

  4. charges very high medical fees only few Zambians can afford. ZRA attempted to recover tax from this private hospital was discontinued by former ZRA DG Chanda on instructions from former president Edgar Lungu. Man PF members imported vehicles in the name of their party without paying taxes and other institutions too used this route to evade tax resulting in loss of revenue to government. TAT need to be active to ensure ordinary Zambians pay fair affordable tax and urge ZRA to focus more on private institutions that tend to evade and abuse our tax system.

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  5. Ati “from it’s inception in 1999, the Tax Appeals Tribunal has disposed of over 608 cases with only 37 being filled to the High Court of Zambia”. These empty suits are jokers. Everyday 365 days a year people complain about the taxes ZRA impose on them and you only come out today to let Zambians know that you actually exist, meanwhile you have been sitting in your air conditioned office and drawing a salary and enjoying other privileges that come with the job. SMH

    • The Tribunal can only attend to complaints that are filed formally before it. If people complain every day on fora such as social media, the Tribunal is not expected to act on such or to pursue or solicit such informal complaints.

    • @His Master’s Voice. You are missing the point. This tribunal has virtually been invisible and very few Zambians know about it. If people knew about it, most would have avoided paying bribes to those ZRA chaps and instead formally complained to this tribunal.

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  6. The tax system in our Republic has caused more suffering than colonization.

    When a nation is requiring a grade seven to pay tax but exclude them from participating In decision making only GRZ and its political parties.

    Some of us were still fighting for independence to pay tax and be represented.

    GRZ when are you going to show precedence like other nations when it comes to taxation.

  7. People fail to complain because they have to travel all the way to lusaka to lodge in a complaint then keep travelling wasting more money on transport, lodging etc while the tribunal is sitting until their day comes to be heard. Sometimes its cheaper just to pay. They should have offices in all provinces and must come for sittings in all provinces at least once in three months for people to complain.

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