Monday, July 17, 2017

Second time for deadline extension is given to property tax payers

It is actually a relief for late tax payers since the move was announced in Parliament during 2016/17 fiscal year. The government had commissioned all municipal councils to have nothing to do with the property tax and that all collections will be done by the Tanzania Revenue Authority with effect from this financial year of 2017/18. But it has come to the great surprise when the government had imposed punitive measures against those who would defy the order after the deadline approached on 30th June 2017. Due to the great demand and quite large number of people had not yet responded positively as required, the deadline was prolonged up top 15th last week. As the number is still; surging, the Minister for Defiance was pity enough and has now extended the days up to the end of this month. Now all customers may now breathe a sigh of relief after the government announced extension of tax payment deadline to July 31, but maintained a firm stance on service station operators who fail to install Electronic Fiscal Devices (EFDs). The government had previously set June 30 as the deadline for settling property tax, but was forced to extend to July 15 after an influx of taxpayers overwhelmed TRA officers across the country. Announcing the extension of the deadline, Tanzania Revenue Authority (TRA) Director for Taxpayer Services and Education, Richard Kayombo, said some TRA offices in Dar es Salaam were continuing to collect property tax along other levies. He mentioned the TRA offices that were carrying out such roles as TRA Mbagala, TRA Temeke Maduka Mawili, TRA Kigamboni, TRA LAPF Kijitonyama, TRA Tegeta, TRA Kimara, TRA Manzese, TRA Ilala, TRA Gerezani, TRA Vingunguti and TRA Samora. He also said the TRA office located at Mwalimu Nyerere International Trade Fair (DITF) grounds commonly known as Sabasaba grounds was continuing to collect property tax alongside others. “All property owners, including individuals, companies and institutions have the duty to pay property tax by turning up at TRA offices,” Kayombo said. He added: “TRA will continue receiving property tax payments for 2016/17 financial year until July 31 without penalties alongside payments for 2017/18 effective tomorrow.” He said that elders who are exempted from tax should turn up at TRA offices with documents to prove their cases, which include introduction letters from local government officials and retirement documents for retirees. Speaking about the closed fuel stations for failing to use EFDs, Mr Kayombo said a countywide crackdown will continue. According to Mr Kayombo, 71 fuel stations had been closed by yesterday. Giving the breakdown, Mr Kayombo said Kinondoni District had 28 fuel stations being closed with 23 showing signs of cooperation. A total of 31 service stations were closed in Ilala, but 20 of them were also showing signs of compliance while in Temeke TRA closed 12 stations, nine of which showed signs of cooperation. Mr Kayombo said TRA was closely monitoring all stations that showed cooperation to see the possibility of allowing them to continue with business. “This arrangement goes on and will continue being implemented countrywide. Only oil dealers who will comply with the government directives by installing EFDs will be allowed to do business,” he insisted. A survey conducted by the ‘Sunday News’ in various regions witnessed thousands of residents standing in long queues in an attempt to settle property tax while motorists hassled to search for fuel due to closure of fuel stations. In Dodoma, Regional Taxpayers Service and Officer Barnabas John told the ‘Sunday News’ that they were battling the huge numbers of taxpayers, adding that “we have managed to service all our clients.” Mr John said the authority was forced to use Electronic Fiscal Devices (EFDs) to speed up the exercise on Friday and yesterday when thousands of Dodoma residents turned up to clear their pending payments. “Majority of residents who turned up to settle property tax were new landlords who had not been registered in the system,” he said. According to him, new taxpayers were required to physically turn up at TRA offices for registration before being allowed to make payments through mobile phones in the future. He said the authority was currently planning to adopt a system, including hiring agents at every ward to process payments on behalf of TRA as part of strategies to reduce congestion at the regional office.

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