Editor's Comment

Pay taxes voluntarily

TAX is an essential part of revenue collection for the Zambian government, as is the case with many other governments across the globe.
There is not a single government that can claim it does not need taxes.
Even countries that are considered rich collect tax. Actually for most of these rich countries the taxes are even higher.
Every government needs taxes to be able to provide various services to its citizens.
It is through taxes that Government raises revenue to finance infrastructure and social services.
In a developing country like Zambia, with so many needs, Government requires tax revenue to provide basic services such as water and sanitation, health, education and other social amenities.
Government also shoulders the responsibility to build infrastructure such as roads, hospitals, schools and many others as well as invest in sectors with potential for growth.
Zambia cannot afford to only spend on consumption. There is need to invest in various sectors for future prosperity.
The obligations and needs at hand are enormous and much more as the population continues to swell.
This means more demand for service provision and subsequently for more money.
The burden on the shoulders of Government to deliver on its obligations is huge.
Zambia Revenue Authority as the body mandated to collect taxes on behalf of Government is also under pressure to make sure that it collects enough to meet its targets.
It is a well-known fact that many Zambians and business people do no appreciate the obligation of paying tax as witnessed by levels of evasion.
Some individuals and even companies can do anything just to evade paying tax.
This mindset needs to change if Zambia is collect enough revenue for service delivery and development.
Though ZRA has been exceeding its revenue collection targets over the years, we believe it can do even much if only more individuals and corporate entities could be supportive by paying taxes.
Amid tax evasions, it is good that ZRA is working to devise ways of bringing more people in the tax net.
It is particularly commendable that ZRA is taking taxpayer education seriously to cultivate a culture of voluntary tax compliance.
As opposed to people reacting after being visited by the law, ZRA wants citizens to be proactive and self-motivated in fulfilling their tax obligations.
When people become voluntary tax compliant, it does not only help ZRA to collect more revenue but also utilise resources in a much more efficient manner.
If people can pay their taxes on their own, it means the authority will no longer spend money making follow-ups. That money can then be diverted to other more important areas
ZRA Commissioner General Kingsley Chanda says the authority is modernising all tax systems to have simplified and user-friendly platforms that enable taxpayers to register, file returns and make payments online.
This is way to go. If ZRA can make tax payment even more convenient, then people will have no excuse for evading tax.
The initiative by ZRA to devise a simplified and user-friendly system also shows that the authority is cognisant of the fact that its clientele is vast and across all social strata.
Education around the simplified and user friendly system is still key to ensure that no one is left behind.
In educating the masses, it is good that ZRA is on top of things and partnering with the media.
With such initiatives and aggressiveness, change is certainly assured and time will tell.

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