MOSES MATTHEW, MWANZA
The Tanzania Revenue Authority (TRA) in Mwanza Region collected a total of Tsh34.3 billion in tax revenues during the five months of July-November this financial year, which was within a whiff of the set collection target of
The collection was nonetheless more than a third of the Tsh91.1 billion set for the Region by the Government in Dar for the 2011/12 financial year.
The Mwanza Customs & Excise Department is required to collect Tsh66 billion of that amount, with the Domestic Revenue Department chipping in with Tsh23.4 billion of the set target.
According to the Mwanza regional TRA manager, Jeremiah Lusana, the Authority still “has a very long way to go to collect the remaining Tsh57 billion” to meet the regional target for the financial year which ends on June 30, 2012.
This was revealed last week when TRA-Mwanza was marking the fifth annual Taxpayer Day on the fringes of the Fiftieth Independence Anniversary of 'Tanzania Mainland,' which is being 'celebrated' countrywide today, December 9.
Lusana asserted that, “despite this triumph, there also are a number of challenges” still facing the Regional Authority.
He named the challenges as including the 20 per cent of potential tax payers who still haven't acquired the voluntary tax compliance habit; ringleaders among the business community who make a hobby of tax evasion, and traders who are yet to clamber aboard the Electronic Fiscal Devices 'train' using same to record their day-to-day business transactions!
Tax fudging is still on a high rate, fueled by the culture among customers of routinely not demanding receipts for the goods and services they purchase. This is compounded by traders who do not issue receipts as a matter of course-- and. Worst still, do not make use of the statutorily required Electronic Fiscal Devices (EFDs).
Other identified challenges are the great number of informally-conducted businesses; failure to register business that need to be registered; lack of full or accurate business records, and abuse of statutory tax exemptions.
All the foregoing lead to difficulties not only in arriving at more accurate tax collection estimates, but also at collecting the full taxes as due from the taxpaying communities!
As it is today, TRA-Mwanza is doing block management on a quarterly basis in order to make sure that domestic revenues are controlled, with minimum or zero-tax revenue losses!
The assistant Mwanza TRA manager, Musa Kifunta, said that, during the first half of FY-2011/12, 1,093 traders in Mwanza Region were visited by TRA, when 32 new businesses were registered for value-added tax (VAT) purposes.