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Badilisha Lugha KISWAHILI

Resolve frozen account dispute

3rd December 2012
Editorial Cartoon

The ongoing dispute between the Tanzania Revenue Authority and the Tanzania Football Federation over Pay As You Earn (PAYE) need an immediate solution to ease the friction between the parties.

The dispute also threatens to interfere with the mainland premier league, whose cash is being held in the accounts TRA has frozen, demanding for the more than 157m/- as arrears of unpaid taxes resulting from remuneration packages of two football coaches who served in Tanzania for four years from 2006.

Needless to say the issue has raised eyebrows in the way it was handled by all the parties involved.

While TRA is strictly implementing its regulations in terms of statutory deductions, the football federation claims contractual agreements for international coaches are free from taxation.

Both TRA and TFF have to a great extent erred in connection with the taxation issue.

TRA should have acted immediately after the TFF hired the Brazilian coaching duo and not wait to claim for arrears six years later.

Was TRA aware of this tax evasion that was in existence for over six years?

If yes, what prevented TRA from claiming the deductions when the coaches were executing duty and obviously being paid?
When do the alarm bells ring at TRA that someone is not honouring their statutory obligations?

What action has been taken against the TRA collectors who are just now waking up from this seemingly deep slumber to claim the colossal amount after the coaching duo have already left the country?

The TFF is also on a wrong footing as far as the issue is concerned, for failing to educate TRA on how foreign coaches are treated in terms of remuneration’s statutory deductions.

It was important to lay everything bare to the tax collectors instead of assuming they know their duties.

Compounding the PAYE dispute is the fact that it was not TFF which was actually paying the remuneration packages to the coaching duo.

The money originated from the Treasury before the Ministry for Information, Culture and Sports effected payments to the coaching duo. In this regard the ministry was responsible to make deductions and remit the PAYE to the TRA.

Though the coaches were answerable to the football federation when they were executing their duties, it was the ministry that was responsible to pay their remuneration packages.

That is why people are rightly asking why the TRA is freezing the football federation’s accounts and not those of the ministry.
Should we assume that the ministry avoided making the statutory deductions deliberately? These questions have to be answered to solve the puzzle.

It is important for the three parties to come to the negotiating table and iron out the dispute to ease the growing tension between them.

The situation indicates that there is poor communication between the three parties and that one of them has failed to execute his duties.

Should the TRA claims for unpaid PAYE arrears be genuine, which account will be charged to pay the arrears?
The frozen account dispute needs an immediate solution to relieve the football federation ahead of the Mainland premiership second half kickoff at the end of next month.

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