The Zimbabwe Revenue Authority is considering coming up with inhouse cluster based tax specialists in the health sector, ICT and others to assist in coming up with proper taxing methods.
This comes after realising there are tax controversies where Zimra officers clash with tax consultants and tax payers. Further tax experts said they have been having challenges with Zimra officers who are not well versed with taxing other industries. Zimra board member Mrs Betty Katiyo told this reporter they are looking forward to have specialists who will be focused on taxing a specific sector.
“We will be having our own specialists lets say in the sector who will assist us in not generalizing taxes,” she said.
Other countries like South Africa are known to have engaged specialists on various fields to assist the tax authority in coming up with proper taxing procedures. In a breakaway discussion held on Tuesday, it was noted by tax specialists that in the everchanging dynamic ICT era, Zimra ought to engage these ICT tax specialists.
And of course we just don’t have one but we’ll also have some who will be understudy. So we are actually looking into all this,” said Mrs Katiyo.
Mrs Katiyo also said they will engage and consult tax specialists in ICT and other sectors in the process.
“We will be engaging various industries so that we will be able to speak the same language,” she added.
She noted that the specialists should come from their organization.
“The specialists will be our own staff. It will be similar to what is done in newsrooms where you have different desks covering different beats of news,” said the Zimra board member.
She also noted that once specialized clusters are established there will be less confusion between Zimra, its stakeholders, taxpayers, and tax accountants.
“We already started working and come up with the clusters where we want specialists so that they become real specialists. Because the chairperson said we will interface with the stakeholders, taxpayers and more so tax accountants so that we are on the same page. That way life is made easier for both zimra and also for the consultants,” she said.
Her sentiments come after some tax specialists complained that Zimra is trailing behind in terms of coming up with specialized taxing departments that come up with requisite taxing methods for each sector. Some tax experts noted that their main challenge is having Zimra officers barging in interrogating them on why they did not document a transaction five years later when taxing is just generalized.
“The worry that we have is that we don’t want officers to come five years down the line to say say that you have this transaction which was not written where at the moment its not clear whether its taxable or not,” said a participant.