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Commissioner for Customs and Excise – Mr Happias Kuzvinzwa

The Seventh Day Adventist Harare City Centre Church hosted a business symposium on 22 May 2018, wherein taxation policy was the main topic under discussion. True to the thrust of the business network meeting, the ZIMRA team led by the Commissioner for Customs and Excise – Mr Happias Kuzvinzwa – was in attendance.

This was a rare show of unity between the church and tax Authorities, especially in light of the fact that the two institutions operate in two diametrically different worlds. Because of this show of solidarity, the Commissioner for Customs was quick to applaud the SDA church for playing a proactive role in hosting a seminar meant to highlight some of the pertinent issues around taxation and nation building.


“It is even more plausible since the church has taken it upon itself to host a tax symposium, which in itself is a confirmation of the integral role which the church can play in promoting governance and a culture of patriotism,” said Commissioner Kuzvinzwa.


The Commissioner reiterated the need for business to embrace the concept of voluntary compliance and good corporate citizenship saying they tend to benefit from programme, which the Authority is rolling out.


“We have the authorised economic operator facility which allows trusted clients to have their goods done physical examination inland. However, you need to acquit yourself well over a period of time as a trustworthy client in order to benefit from this facility. The facility has also allowed us to decongest the border posts.”


Mr Kuzvinzwa also pointed out that the Authority has the Revenue Assurance programme where the Authority engages business in order to educate them on tax and duty issues such that they don’t repeat the same mistakes they would have committed in the previous years.


He also pointed out that ZIMRA was ready to operationalise the “Zimbabwe Open for Business” mantra by ensuring that the processes are simplified for the benefit of expected influx of foreign direct investment.


During the question and answer session, clients raised the issue of systems challenges of which the Commissioner pointed out that the Authority was almost done with the system upgrade to ensure seamless service to the taxpayers.


The church also wanted to know more about how churches are taxed, especially in light of the controversy that had surrounded the issue of taxation of churches. The Commissioner however pointed out that tithes and offerings were not subject to tax.


“What we tax are business adventures by churches. We therefore expect our churches to make that clear distinction between church and business, since this will help you to understand how taxation of churches operates,” he said.