The law on objection to Zimra  assessments and decisions on taxes

Godknows Hofisi

It is quite common for taxpayers to receive tax assessments from the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (ZIMRA) and be asked by the tax authority to pay the outstanding tax as assessed. 

There is usually gnashing of teeth with taxpayers not sure what to do. At times ZIMRA officers would have made genuine mistakes in their interpretation of tax laws. In some instances, they would have based their assessments on estimates, incorrect assumptions or incomplete information. 

In that case there will be room for engagement to correct the assessed tax position. It is very common to hear a corporate taxpayer saying it does not agree with the ZIMRA tax assessment but is not sure how to approach ZIMRA. 

In this article, I look at how to lawfully and correctly object to ZIMRA assessments or decisions in terms of the tax laws where there is merit in doing so.

Right to objection

Anyone who is not satisfied with an assessment or a decision made by the Commissioner General of ZIMRA may lodge an objection in terms of the tax laws.

The main Acts or laws are:

Section 62 of the Income Tax Act (Chapter 23:06) (“Income Tax Act”).

Section 25 of the Capital Gains Tax Act (Chapter 23:01) (“CGT Act”).

Section 32 of the Value Added Tax Act (Chapter 23:12) (“VAT Act”).

Objection according to the Income Tax Act

Section 62 of the Income Tax Act is read together with the Eleventh (11th) Schedule to the same Act. According to section 62(1) any taxpayer who is aggrieved by any assessment made upon him under this Act, any decision of the Commissioner (General) mentioned in the Eleventh Schedule or a determination of a reduction of tax in terms of section 92, 93, 94, 95 or 96 may object to such assessment, decision or determination within thirty (30) days after the date of the notice of assessment or of the written notification of the decision or determination in the manner and under the terms prescribed by the Act.

According to section 62(2) no objection shall be entertained by the Commissioner (General), which is not delivered at his or her office or posted to him or in sufficient time to reach him on or before the last day unless the taxpayer satisfies the Commissioner that reasonable grounds exist for the delay in lodging his objection.

Section 62(3) requires that every objection shall be in writing and shall specify in detail the grounds upon, which it is made. Normally it is necessary to include supporting documentation. Evidence is normally by reference to specific sections of the Act or documentation to prove facts.

According to section 62(4) upon receipt of the objection to an assessment, a decision or the determination of a reduction of tax the Commissioner may reduce or alter the assessment, alter the decision, or, as the case may be, increase or alter the reduction or may disallow the objection.

According to section 62(5) if no objection is made or the objection is disallowed or withdrawn then the assessment or decision of ZIMRA as initially communicated stands.

Objection according to the Capital Gains Tax Act

Section 25 of the CGT Act affords an aggrieved taxpayer the right to object to an assessment or any decision of the Commissioner (General) mentioned in certain paragraphs. Most of the decisions that can be objected to are listed in section 25(1)(b) of the CGT Act.

The section also provides that an objection should be made within thirty (30) days in the manner prescribed by the Act.

Objection according to the Value Added Tax Act

Section 32(1) of the VAT Act allows any person who is dissatisfied with the following situations to lodge an objection with the Commissioner:

Any decision given in writing by the Commissioner notifying that person of the Commissioner’s refusal to register that person in terms of the Act, the Commissioner’s decision to cancel any registration of that person in terms of

the Act or the Commissioner’s refusal to cancel such registration or the Commissioner’s refusal to make a refund.

Any assessment made upon him under sections 31, 66 or 67.

Any direction or supplementary direction made by the Commissioner and

served on that person in terms of section 52(3) or (4).

Any decision of the Commissioner implementing or interpreting regulations made under section 78 in connection with fiscalised electronic registers, and any assessments of amounts of tax due arising from the operation of such

registers.

Like the other Acts above, section 32(2) of the VAT Act requires every objection to be in writing and to specify in detail the grounds upon which it is made. Again it may be necessary to include documentation to sustain the objection. Reference may be made to the relevant sections or documentary evidence to prove facts.

Payment of tax pension finalisation of objection

The obligation to pay and the right to receive any tax, additional tax, penalty or interest chargeable shall not, unless the Commissioner General so directs, be suspended by any objection or appeal pending the decision by the Commissioner General or the court of law. This is the position in terms section 36 of the VAT Act, section 69 of the Income Tax Act. Even section 25 of the CGT Act makes reference to sections 63 to 70 of the Income Tax Act of which section 69 is a part.

Conclusion

Section 62 of the Income Tax Act, section 25 of the Capital Gains Tax Act and section 32 of the Value Added Tax Act afford a dissatisfied taxpayer the right to make an objection.

Disclaimer

This simplified article is for general information purposes only and does not constitute the writer’s professional advice.

Godknows (GK) Hofisi, LLB(UNISA), B.Acc(UZ), Hons B.Compt (UNISA), CA(Z), MBA(EBS, Heriot- Watt, UK) is the Managing Partner of Hofisi & Partners

Commercial Attorneys, chartered accountant, insolvency practitioner, registered tax accountant and advises on deals and transactions. 

He writes in his personal capacity. 

He can be contacted on +263 772 246 900 or [email protected]

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