The Zambia Revenue Authority (ZRA) says it has paid over K4 billion to mining firms in VAT refunds.

And the Authority says it has collected a total of K719 Million from the Amnesty Programme as of July 31, 2017.

Speaking at a press briefing in Lusaka today, ZRA Commissioner General Kingsley Chanda said the Authority had refunded mining companies a total of K4.068 billion in Value Added Tax (VAT) under the period between January and July 2017.

He said out of the total refunds made, 76 percent was made to the mining firms while the remainder was paid to other companies.

“I wish to take this opportunity to inform the general public that ZRA has refunded a total of K4, 068.4 million in VAT refunds in the period January to July 2017. Out of the total of K4, 068.4 million that has been refunded, K329 million relates to long outstanding VAT Rule 18 refund arrears while K3,739.9 million relates to the current period. Of the total amount refunded, 76 percent was made to the mining companies while the remainder was made to other sectors of the economy.”

Chanda further revealed that the Authority’s audit teams have discovered some fraudulent VAT refund claims.

“I wish to inform the nation that our vigilant audit teams have discovered some fraudulent refund claims. This discovery has prompted us to take a more cautious approach when paying refunds. In fact, all taxpayers who could have been refunded on fake documents are earmarked for a forensic audit which we shall be launching soon after verifying such records,” Chanda said.

“It is important to note that so far, ZRA has collected K1,961.73 million from the tax debt out of which, as I earlier said, K719.22 million is directly attributed to the tax Amnesty and has been largely paid by micro, small and medium enterprises,” Chanda said.

He disclosed that 617,435 out of a total 848,788 tax amnesty applications had already been approved for waiver.

“I am pleased to announce that the Zambia Revenue Authority has received tremendous response to the amnesty programme that was launched on 24 April, 2017. In the first 100 days since the programme was launched, we have received a total of 848,788 tax amnesty applications out of which 617,435 cases have so far been processed and approved for waiver, while the remainder is still work in progress,” Chanda said.

“However, 96,107 applications have been rejected on account of not meeting the amnesty conditions. The total revenue collected on account of the amnesty as at 31 July, 2017 was K719.22 million with Income Tax and Value Added Tax (VAT) accounting for 72 percent of the total amount received. We expect additional revenue from the over 2,000 Time to Pay Agreements (TPAs) that have so far been signed by various taxpayers worth K 2,549.19 million of which K934.11 million is expected to be fully settled by 31 December, 2017.”

He warned that the Authority would invoke enforcement on all taxpayers who would choose to ignore the amnesty period.

“Our intention at the end of the amnesty is to invoke enforcement on all those taxpayers who have chosen to remain delinquent. It is not a secret that we have devised and resourced a vicious and uncompromising strategy to be implemented soon after the amnesty period. We have procured equipment and recruited more tax inspectors to ensure the success of the strategy. We shall follow, without fear or favour, small, medium, large, parastatals and even Government ministries that will be owing tax and have chosen not to participate in the ongoing Amnesty programme. My message to all is it is not too late; please step forward and put your tax matters in order,” said Chanda.