JPM censures TRA on tax overcharges

03Dec 2018
The Guardian Reporter
Arusha
The Guardian
JPM censures TRA on tax overcharges

PRESIDENT John Magufuli yesterday censured the Tanzania Revenue Authority (TRA) for slapping businesses with overstated tax estimates, the practice he said encourages tax evasion.

President John Magufuli has a feel of the pumping capacity of a deep water well shortly after inaugurating a water supply project in Arusha Region yesterday. The idea is for the well to supply a daily 200 million litres of the precious liquid. Photo: State House

Speaking here after laying a foundation stone for an Arumeru water project, the Head of State said that even after issuing unjustifiably high tax estimates to business people, enforcement officials from TRA demand payments of the same by using his 2015 election campaign slogan 'Hapa Kazi Tu’ which loosely translates as just work, nothing else.

“Sometimes TRA annoys…they issue too high estimates and say 'Hapa Kazi Tu' to enforce payment. Did I really send you to do that?” Magufuli asked.

He stated that TRA officials who engage in such unfair practices 0ught to have no chance to serve in his administration. 

“You better issue low tax estimates that are payable rather than overstated ones that force people to evade taxes,” the president emphasized.

His intervention follows complaints from the business community of unfairly high tax estimates by the TRA and heavy-handedness in enforcement of payment.

In May, the Speaker of the National Assembly Job Ndugai halted a meeting of the Parliamentary Committee on Industries, Trade and Environment over tax complaints after Prime Minister Kassim Majaliwa made a statement in the House.

Ndugai told members of the committee that there was no need for them to meet while the premier had already explained the matter following questions raised by legislators.

The matter came during the question and answer session when Tunduma MP Frank Mwakajoka (CHADEMA) threw a question to the premier wondering how the government emphasised on industrialization yet there was a tendency by TRA to issue unjustifiable high tax bills and of closing businesses that failed to pay.

The MP asked the premier to explain, fearing that these habits discourage investment. In his answer, the premier said the matter had repeatedly been raised and ruled upon in Parliament.

He called on the business community to appeal to responsible organs in case they felt they were overtaxed or harassed by TRA officials.

"We have formed a special task force within TRA to handle such cases. If that is not enough, the Ministry of Finance which is the custodian of TRA is fully empowered to deal with those queries," he said.

 

The water project which the president laid a foundation stone will produce 208 million litres per day and is set to end water shortage in Arusha city and seven villages through which the pipe will pass. The current demand for water in Arusha city stands at 94 million litres per day, officials said.

The project is being built with a 520bn/- loan from the African Development Bank (AfDB) they added.

 

 

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