The African Tax Administration Forum (Ataf) has urged revenue authorities to streamline tax refunds with compliant taxpayers in essential sectors to mitigate cash flow issues in the face of coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic.
In its recently published report Suggested Covid-19 Measures for Revenue Authorities, Ataf executive secretary Logan Wort said while revenue authorities consider to pay out value-added tax (VAT) refunds as quickly as possible, it is also critical to consider the suspension of the payment of interest on outstanding refunds.
Said Wort: “Covid-19 pandemic has caused economic distress throughout societies as workers can no longer go to work, many businesses cannot trade and borders are closed to all but essential goods.
“Revenue authorities are a crucial institution of the state and have to quickly consider measures both operational and as part of the wider governmental response to mitigate the economic impact”.
Tax expert Emmanuel Kaluluma observed on Tuesday that for taxpayers in Malawi, the law allows them to reduce the tax liability by the amount that could be an outstanding amount of tax refundable.
Last week, Malawi Revenue Authority (MRA) opened a Voluntary Compliance Window (VCW) for six months to allow non-compliant taxpayers to settle their tax obligations without paying penalties, interest or any charges.
MRA commissioner general Tom Gray Malata said VCW was in compliance with President Peter Mutharika’s directive to provide a relief to taxpayers in response to the outbreak of Covid-19 pandemic.
He said: “MRA will be implementing the window with effect from April 8 to October 31 2020 to provide relief to individuals and organisations to regularise their tax affairs without suffering penalties, interests and charges. The window is also aimed at increasing voluntary compliance among business people.”
Ataf is an African tax administration body for revenue collecting authorities to which MRA is a member.