The amnesty on interest and penalties which was introduced by the Zambia Revenue Authority (ZRA) on 24th April, 2017, came to a close yesterday on 31st July 2017.

During this period, taxpayers were expected to submit outstanding tax returns and pay all principal tax liabilities for tax periods prior to 1st March 2017, after which all interest and penalties accrued for the said period would be waived in full. Taxpayers were expected to pay all outstanding principal liabilities within the amnesty period. In instances where taxpayers have not able to settle the principal liabilities before 31st July 2017, ZRA offered an opportunity of settling such tax liabilities in installments by entering into TIME-TO-PAY-AGREEMENTS (TPAS) WITH TAXPAYERS TO BE SETTLED BEFORE 31st DECEMBER, 2017.

Despite the impressive performance both in terms of the number of applications received as I have seen for myself, and the revenue realised, I have seen the need to extend the amnesty period. This decision is in the interest of ensuring that the main objective for initiating the amnesty, which was to enable the taxpaying public to clean up their records, is fully realised. I, THEREFORE, WISH TO DIRECT THE ZAMBIA REVENUE AUTHORITY TO EXTEND THE AMNESTY UP TO 31st AUGUST, 2017.

Notwithstanding this extension, the deadline for time-to-pay agreements remains 31st December, 2017 and all other rules will remain as announced by the commissioner general during the launch of the amnesty campaign on 24th April, 2017.

I wish to take this opportunity to encourage members of the public to take full advantage of this extension and not wait for the last minute to put their tax affairs in order. No applications for further extension will be entertained after the expiry of the additional 30 days. ZRA MUST ENSURE THAT ALL TAXPAYERS WITH ISSUES ON THEIR TAX ACCOUNTS ARE ATTENDED TO BEFORE THE NEW DEADLINE, after which enforcement action should be instituted against all taxpayers with liabilities on their accounts.

In this regard, ZRA is expected to step up its enforcement strategies in order to deal with the post-amnesty period. For example, 40 brand new vehicles have been procured for enforcement which has commenced with immediate effect but will be accelerated after the NEW DEADLINE OF 31st AUGUST, 2017.

I am glad to note that ZRA has also recruited more officers in order to enforce its mandate of revenue collection. Finally, may I commend ZRA employees for the diligence and hard work that they continue to exhibit, amidst some operational challenges. This is commendable as it demonstrates patriotism to a noble cause of working to develop this great nation.

To all the taxpayers out there, especially those that have taken advantage of the amnesty, I once again say to you “job well done”. To those yet to take advantage of the amnesty, you still have time before the new deadline. Be smart, be tax compliant and start a new page.

Felix C. Mutati, MP

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