TRA tightens screws on fuel trade cash system

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TANZANIA Revenue Authority (TRA) has said the decision to close fuel stations whose owners didn’t comply with its directives of issuing electronic fiscal device (EFD) receipts, was a last resort after fines imposed on defaulters didn’t yield results.

However, the Director for Taxpayer Services and Education, Mr Richard Kayombo, told ‘Daily News’ in an exclusive interview that the aim wasn’t to punish traders or the public, but to “cultivate a culture” of paying taxes as the country was gearing towards a full electronic economy.

He said the system was supposed to be implemented since 2014 but for the sake of making it workable for all, including one EFD serving four pumps, the system and its operations were rescheduled to September, 2016.

“This is why big firms in the industry have already complied with the system and are comfortable with it,” Mr Kayombo noted, citing Total, Engen, Puma and Gapco, as among the big players who had set the tone.

On why some traders are reluctant to use the fuel specialized electronic devices, he responded: “Some traders are hiding their incomes because they have made under-declarations in order to deny the government the deserved taxes.”

The decision, according to him, had pushed traders to pay for the EFDs while others had pledged that they would use the system. Mr Kayombo exonerated the government from blame, remarking: “The traders are to blame because it was easy for them to evade tax. Some had already installed the machines but were not using them; but after the operation, they have started using them.”

On how the government had planned to embark on the envisaged electronic economy, he said they had introduced specialized EFDs to fit specific businesses, as the one-size-fits-all principle didn’t apply.

He said the system being used in the fuel business could not be used by insurance brokers who depended on commissions, and the same applied to bureau de change shops, adding that “to make every business pay tax, there must be a specialized system.”

Last week, TRA closed some filling stations, causing countrywide chaos for motorists and the public at large since some traders were not complying with the newly introduced system of paying tax in the oil sector.

TRA is taking this initiative as the government has tasked it to collect the 17.1 tri/- in this fiscal year after attaining by 95 per cent, the 2016/17 tax collection target of 15.1tri/-.

Meanwhile, PIUS RUGONZIBWA reports from Mwanza that 72 petrol stations were closed over the last two days for not using Electronic Fuel Fiscal Printers (EFFP) following a crackdown conducted by the Tanzania Revenue Authority (TRA).

The Authority’s Regional Taxpayer’s Education Officer, Mr Lutufyo Mtafya, told the ‘Daily News’ yesterday that the closed stations were among the 80 that had been inspected.

He said the stations would remain closed until they fully complied with the government directive that required them to fix the machines. Mr Mtafya mentioned the districts where the stations were closed (the number in brackets) as Nyamagana and Ilemela Municipalities (31), Geita (18), Misungwi (6), Magu (8), Sengerema (6) and Ukerewe (3).

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