Tax protest hits Dar business hub

Protest on the purchase and use of EFDs
Business in Kariakoo, Dar es Salaam’s main and busiest shopping district, on Monday came to a complete standstill for several hours, after traders closed their shops in protest over prices of electronic fiscal devices (EFDs) used by the Tanzania Revenue Authority (TRA) to collect taxes.

The protest in Dar es Salaam on Monday followed similar action by traders in Lindi and Mbeya regions last week for the same reason.

It happened after TRA had lowered prices of the devices and extended the deadline for its acquisition and usage.

In Dar es Salaam, hardware, jewelries, spare parts and garment shops remained closed since morning on Monday, much to the inconvenience of shoppers at the city’s prime business area which is home to small, medium and large scale businesses.

Also affected were mini-supermarkets, mobile phone shops, sub- wholesale shops, restaurants, pharmaceutical stores and electronics shops.

Located in Ilala District, Kariakoo, is a hot business rendezvous for local as well as foreign traders from Uganda, Rwanda, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Zambia, The Comoros, Mozambique and Zimbabwe.

TRA Commissioner for Domestic Revenue, Mr Patrick Kassera, announced on Monday that the prices of the devices had been lowered to between 600,000/- and 778,377/- per piece, depending on the model and type.

The deadline for acquisition and application of the EFDs had been extended to December 31 from November 15 to allow time for traders to buy and be adequately trained on its usage, he said in a media advertisement.

The authority’s Director of Taxpayer Services and Education, Mr Richard Kayombo, told the ‘Daily News’ yesterday that the protests were a result of a series of distortion campaigns against the use of the devices that have so far boosted revenue collection and simplified tax administration.

He observed that as part of such campaigns, there have been false reports circulating and purporting to show that all traders were required to use the devices.

He said the second phase of EFDs, which began in July 2013, involved non-VAT registered traders with a turnover of 14m/- annually and above.

“So it is not true that all traders are required to use the EFDs,” he elaborated in an interview, adding that TRA had worked on the complaints of the prices of the machines and lowered them.

“We worked on the complaints on the prices and lowered them to between 600,000/- and 700,000/-. We don’t know why they are (still) protesting,” he remarked.

He described as ‘impossible’ demands that TRA should hand the devices to traders for free.

TRA introduced the EFDs for the purpose of issuing receipts and invoices for every sale made to boost revenue collection and simplify tax administration.

The first phase began in July 2010, involving only VAT-registered traders. The second phase, which was intended to cover non-VAT-registered traders with an annual turnover of 14m/- and above, began in July, this year.
Source: Daily News, reported from Dar es Salaam, tanzania

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