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Z’bar moves to electronic invoicing

Z’bar moves to electronic invoicing

ZANZIBAR government will soon stop payments to manually generated invoices to oblige all suppliers of goods and services to register with Zanzibar Revenue Board’s (ZRB) electronic system.

“The government intends to issue a public statement soon—no payment will be made without proof of electronically issued invoice,” Minister of State in the President’s Office, Finance and Planning Jamal Kassim Ali told ZRB management on Thursday.

Winding up his tour of the Board and some ZRB’s Virtual Fiscal Management System (VFMS) registered businesses, the minister said integration of all taxpayers in the country to the system is inevitable if the government has to collect its rightful revenues.

He ordered ZRB to form a special task force to review the taxpayers’ database and ensure that all eligible businesses are registered with the system and pay relevant taxes.

“Let’s give ourselves a timeframe to roll out VFMS system countrywide...we should ensure that all qualified businesses are registered,” the minister said, decrying cheatings among some dishonesty taxpayers.

He queried, “Imagine some businesses pay 12m/- annually in rent and yet they are not VAT (Value Added Tax) registered. Logically, there is no business with turnover below 50m/- can afford that rent!” Fifty million turnovers is the threshold for the business to qualify for VAT registration in Zanzibar.

Minister Jamal said the established task force will have the responsibility of enforcing the uses of Point of Sale (PoS) machines and review traders’ categories in the country. He challenged ZRB management to ensure fairness prevails in tax collection as the most effective strategy to induce compliance.

“We have to treat all people equally if we have to get compliance in tax payments,” said the minister. ZRB Commissioner Salum Yussuf Ali decried low level of compliance in the islands, especially among Zanzibaris. “We have a serious tax evasion problem in Zanzibar, compliance is extremely low,” he said.

The commissioner cited a small survey that the board conducted at Unguja’s Mlandege business hub in which out of 300 sampled businesses, only 83—about 28 per cent— were VAT registered.

He said already the board has contracted three suppliers of PoS machines in the country, with 30,000 devices expected to enter the market, according to the revenue agency’s forecast.

Earlier, ZRB Acting Director of Information Communication Technology (ICT) Harith Ahmada said the board has since July 1, 2021 registered 600 PoS, with only 83 devises provided. Some visited traders appreciated the PoS machines, saying they have simplified their work.

“I can now easily see my business stock and sale records,” said Saleh Decoration Director Saleh Ashuor, saying he last month paid electronically calculated tax of 9m/- out of his 70m/- monthly turnover.

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Author: MASATO MASATO

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