The Zimbabwe Revenue Authority will continue issuing garnishee orders against firms dodging their statutory obligations as the tax collector mops up millions of US dollars the State needs to advance its activities.
A number of companies’ accounts have in recent months been garnished, leaving their operations in dire straits and resulting in employees going without salaries in some cases.
ZIMRA says companies affected by the blitz should not cry foul as they had the chance to negotiate payment plans but did not do so.
Prominent entities whose accounts have been garnished in the last few months include the National Social Security Authority, the Civil Aviation Authority and Harare City Council, amongst many others.
Responding to questions from The Sunday Mail, ZIMRA legal and corporate services director Ms Florence Jambwa said: “The Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (ZIMRA) is mandated by law to issue garnishee orders. Garnishee orders are an ongoing exercise and unfortunately we are unable to confirm the number of orders that the authority has issued during the period in question.”
Ms Jambwa said companies were free to approach the tax authority to discuss payment plans.
“Garnishee orders are issued in terms of the law regardless of whether a company is new or established. They are only used as a last resort for collecting outstanding revenue from clients that do not co-operate with the authority regarding payment of their tax liabilities.
“The Commissioner-General (Mr Gershem Pasi) has been on record encouraging genuinely struggling businesses to come forward and discuss payment plans. Therefore, the situation on the ground is not as gloomy and severe as you have put it.”
ZIMRA said it was plugging all loopholes to curb tax evasion.
“It should be noted that tax evasion is an underhand dealing and as such we may not be aware of the extent to which it is taking place. However, regarding those that we stop from evading tax, we cannot disclose how many they are or how they do it as this will breach the secrecy provisions of our mandate as well as jeopardise any ongoing audit investigations,” said Ms Jambwa
In recent weeks, the authority has been taken to court by companies who have contested the authority’s tax system.
In one case set before the Constitutional Court last week, Mayor Logistics — owned by legislator Cde Justice Wadyajena, which is into transport and fuel — is challenging the US$3 235 814 ZIMRA is claiming in unpaid taxes.
Mayor Logistics argues that ZIMRA’s calculations are inaccurate.
Last week another legislator, Dr Munyaradzi Kereke, accused ZIMRA investigations department official Mr Paul Chingosho of criminal abuse of office by conniving to get his Rock Foundation Medical Centre to pay more tax than was due.
Dr Kereke said the medical centre was shutting down due to excessive tax demands.
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