HARARE – The Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (Zimra) has demanded that companies who receive payment in foreign currency for any goods or services should pay tax on those transactions in the same currency.
The directive is the latest admission by the government that the insistence by ministers that RTGS balances and the bond note surrogate currency are at par with the United States dollar is a fallacy.
Lawyers say the directive can be challenged in court.
“There’s no legal basis for Zimra to refuse to collect tax in RTGS. It’s the national currency,” lawyer Fadzai Mahere said.
“The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe introduced the irrational bond against all advice. The Reserve Bank Act says the rate is 1:1 between bond and USD. A tender in RTGS is therefore legally competent.”
Zimra, in a notice published in newspapers on Sunday, said it had “noted that there are businesses that are trading, withholding and collecting VAT, PAYE, capital gains tax and other taxes in multi-currencies.”
“Following this observation, Zimra has found it necessary to clarify that these businesses should remit taxes in the specific currencies in which they collect them without any conversion to RTGS, bond notes, local point-of-sale and mobile money.”
Former Cabinet minister and MDC politician David Coltart described the currency confusion as a farce.
“This is indeed farcical and unenforceable. The regime cannot have it both ways. Either bond notes and RTGS bank balances are equivalent to USD or they are not. If the RBZ insists bond notes are equivalent legal tender, then that tender can be made to Zimra,” Coltart said.