Malawi Tax Defaulters Utilize Voluntary Compliance Window

By Tikondane Vega

Thyolo, May 6, Mana: Malawi Revenue Authority (MRA) call for tax payers to utilise the Voluntary Compliance Window (VCW) is receiving a positive response since the window was opened three weeks ago.

The window presents an opportunity for individuals and organizations’ -Kapoloma

MRA opened a six months VCW from April 8th to 31st October 2020 to allow non-compliant taxpayers to settle their tax obligations without paying penalties, interest or charges.

MRA Head of Corporate Affairs Unit Steve Kapoloma told Malawi News Agency (MANA) on Wednesday that the tax collecting body is receiving more applications since the compliance window was opened.

He said the number of enquiries from taxpayers is increasing on daily basis and so far submitted applications from taxpayers in various sectors of the economy are over 300.

“As for the ongoing VCW, please note that it is a measure that Government has instituted to relieve taxpayers in this period of Covid-19 pandemic. The window presents an opportunity for individuals and organizations’ to regularize their tax affairs without suffering penalties, interests and charges.

“As the name suggests, VCW aims at increasing voluntary compliance among business people. The window is temporarily here until 31st October, 2020 therefore, all eligible taxpayers should not miss this opportunity but come forward and apply to benefit from the zero penalties and fines for overdue taxes,” said Kapoloma.

He said VCW is open to all businesses and individuals not registered with MRA yet but have transactions that were supposed to be taxed but were not or have transactions that are supposed to be taxed but are not taxed.

He added: “Businesses and individuals who are registered but not filing tax returns and not paying taxes due, registered but filing incorrect returns, registered and filing tax returns but became non-compliant by hiding some transactions are also eligible to apply.”

Kapoloma further said taxpayers who had been filing tax returns and assessed for tax but have tax arrears, except those who have made payment arrangement with MRA and taxpayers who had not been declaring imports or smuggling and those who had been misclassifying or under-declaring of importation for duty purposes are all eligible to apply.

Indigenous Business Association of Malawi president, Mike Mlombwa, applauded the move but said the opportunity has come at a wrong time when businesses are not in good shape due to Covid-19 pandemic effects.

Mlombwa said MRA should always do this in good time when economy of the country is in a forms adding the environment Malawi  is, VCW alone is not enough to mitigate possible risks.

“This is a good move but we are still waiting for other waivers from government because with the stay home option adopted by most businesses, productivity would slow down. Business operators should be empowered if they are to efficiently settle the arrears,” Mlombwa said.

Meanwhile, MRA said once the window is closed, the Authority will embark on intensive and extensive audits and investigations to net all tax defaulters and smugglers with a view to collect all taxes due to Government in accordance with the country’s tax laws.

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