ZIMRA Taxes Business Adventures by Churches, not Tithes & Offerings

This was a rare show of unanimity between the church and tax Authorities, principally because the two institutions operate in two diametrically different worlds. 

ZIMRA Taxes Business Adventures by Churches, not Tithes & Offerings: Commissioner Kuzvinzwa
Mr Happias Kuzvinzwa: Image The Chronicle

The Seventh Day Adventist Harare City Centre Church hosted a business symposium last week wherein taxation policy was the prime subject under discussion. True to the thrust of the business network meeting, the  Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (ZIMRA) team headed by the Commissioner for Customs and Excise, Mr Happias Kuzvinzwa, was in attendance.

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This was a rare show of unanimity between the church and tax Authorities, principally because the two institutions operate in two diametrically different worlds.

Because of this show of solidarity, the Commissioner for Customs was swift to applaud the SDA church for performing a proactive role in hosting a convention meant to highlight some pertinent issues around taxation and nation-building.

“It is even more plausible since the church has taken it upon itself to host a tax symposium, which in itself is a confirmation of the integral role which the church can play in promoting governance and a culture of patriotism,” said Commissioner Kuzvinzwa.

The Commissioner reiterated the need for business to embrace the concept of voluntary compliance and good corporate citizenship saying they enjoy the programme which the Authority is rolling out.

“We have the authorised economic operator facility which allows trusted clients to have their goods done physical examination inland. However, you need to acquit yourself well over a period of time as a trustworthy client in order to benefit from this facility. The facility has also allowed us to decongest the border posts.”

Mr Kuzvinzwa also pointed out that the Authority has the Revenue Assurance programme where the Authority engages business to educate them on tax and duty issues such that they don’t repeat the same mistakes they would have committed in preceding years.

He also pointed out that ZIMRA was ready to operationalise the “Zimbabwe Open for Business” mantra by ensuring that the processes are streamlined for the benefit of the expected influx of foreign direct investment.

During the question-and-answer session, clients raised the issue of systems challenges of which the Commissioner pointed out that the Authority was virtually finished with the system upgrade to ensure seamless service to the taxpayers.

The church also needed to learn further about how churches are taxed, especially considering the controversy that had hemmed in the issue of taxation of churches.

The Commissioner, however, pointed out that tithes and offerings were not material to tax, but specified business adventures.

“What we tax are business adventures by churches. We, therefore, expect our churches to make that clear distinction between church and business since this will help you to understand how taxation of churches operates,” he said.

Source: zimra.co.zw


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