ZRA Commissioner General Kingsly Chanda says it is cheaper to be tax compliant than to be caught evading it.
Chanda was speaking to journalists when he launched the ZRA Tax Amnesty on interest and penalties for all tax payers with outstanding debts.
Chanda said the Amnesty would run from April 24, 2017 to July 31 , 2017 during which period tax payers wishing to access waivers, would be required to submit outstanding revenues for the period before March 1, 2017.
He said the establishment of the Tax Amnesty came from a realisation that tax payers faced a lot of challenges; resulting into payment of unnecessary penalties.
Chanda however explained that the Amnesty would not apply to cases under litigation and those under the association’s investigation department; arising from audit or even relating to property transfer tax and those arising from determined court cases.
“I am proud to announce that with effect from today, 20th April, 2017, the Zambia Revenue Authority has launched an Amnesty on interest and penalties and in exercise of the powers vested in me, under various tax laws and with the approval of the Government of Republic of Zambia, through the Minister of Finance, I have today waived all interests and penalties of all tax payers with outstanding penalties and tax debt,” Chanda said.
“This amnesty will run from 24th April, 2017 to 31st July, 2017. To access the waivers during this period, tax payers are expected to submit all outstanding tax returns to pay all their principle tax liabilities for the tax period prior to 1st March, 2017.”
He emphasised that wavers would only be granted upon submission of outstanding returns and full payment of principle tax liabilities.
“However, it must be noted that all waivers, interests and penalties shall be granted upon submission of outstanding returns and full payment of principle tax liabilities. During the Amnesty period, tax payers can pay a lamp sum or in installments. Where the tax payers are not able to settle principle liability by 31st June, 2017, they should apply for a time to pay agreement to enable them settle the outstanding principle liabilities by 31st December, 2017. Tax payers are reminded to submit factual and truthful tax returns as any falsifications of tax returns will not be tolerated,” Chanda said.
“Ladies and gentlemen, let me announce that the Amnesty shall not apply to the following cases; firstly, cases under ligation and those that are under investigations by our investigations department. And also interests and penalties arising from an audit or investigations or interests and penalties relating to property transfer tax are not included. Interest and penalties relating to customs duty and interests and penalties arising from determined Court cases do not apply to the Amnesty.”
Chanda warned of strict measures to deal with tax evaders, saying it was cheaper to be tax compliant.
“Please take advantage of this wonderful gesture, being non tax compliant is no longer an option and the consequences if we catch up with you will be surely regrettable. This is not an empty threat just ask transporters and smugglers in the last two weeks who have lost trucks and goods since we started the forfeiture without penalties. We are no longer prosecuting or fining them, instead we are simply seizing and forfeiting their goods and the trucks being used in smuggling. We are also blacklisting the clearing agents that are involved in such activities. So clearly therefore, it is cheaper to be tax compliant than to be caught evading tax,” said Chanda.
“I would like to urge all Zambians to take advantage of this Amnesty because we are giving them a chance to start on a new page in terms of their tax accounts. ZRA has an institution has a human face to everything it does and this clearly is demonstrated by our passion to serve the Zambian people who are the reason for our existence.”