Research on housing units, ZRA urged

THE Real Estate Institute of Zambia (REIZ) has urged the Zambia Revenue Authority (ZRA) to conduct comprehensive research on the number of housing units in the country to effectively implement the withholding tax on rental income.   
REIZ president Saul Kiwempindi said the initiative to increase the tax base is welcome but more has to be done if the process is to be a success.
Dr Kiwempindi said the ZRA should not rely on the goodwill of people to come forward and pay tax because people are naturally inclined to withholding tax.
He said this when he featured on the Zambia National Broadcasting Corporation (ZNBC’s) Morning Live programme last week.
”The idea is good as it is centred on broadening the country’s tax base, but the approach that ZRA has taken is not consolidated. It is more of sensitisation rather than a process to collect tax.
“They should have done a thorough research on the number of housing units that are on rent. You cannot base your assumption on who is willing to pay tax, if you want to achieve this you cannot depend on people to come forward,” he said.
He said research will enable the authority plan effectively and come up with a target of how much it is expected to realise from the exercise in a particular period of time.
Meanwhile, Dr Kiwempindi said the tax will not affect the real estate business because of the high demand for accommodation in the country.
“This will affect more the tenants because I expect the landlords to transfer that cost onto the tenant. The real estate business will not be affected as people will still be renting houses because there is a scarcity of housing units and demand for accommodation will always be there,” Dr Kiwempindi said.

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