. Malawi Revenue Authority (MRA) says Msonkho Online, a digital tax-paying and management platform, will roll out in January next year to bring efficiency in revenue collection and management.
MRA head of corporate affairs Steven Kapoloma said this in Mangochi on Friday on the sidelines of the Association of Business Journalists (ABJ) Annual Conference and General Meeting.
He said: “We have been working behind the scenes to come up with an integrated system that provides a more user-friendly and cost-effective system for taxpayers to be able to register, file and pay taxes.
“So, from the 16th of January, we are starting the pilot with our Blantyre and Mzuzu offices where taxpayers will be able to register online and register for value added tax as well as pay taxes online.”
Kapoloma described the system as a game-changer as it will transform MRA’s doing of business when interacting with taxpayers through electronic means.
He acknowledged challenges MRA and taxpayers have been facing such as physical interactions, saying it is time-consuming and tedious, but with digitised system, taxpayers will transact wherever they are.
Under current regime, taxpayers provide tax compliance information online, but are still required to submit hard copies of their tax returns to MRA offices.
When Msonkho Online is live, taxpayers will be submitting all compliance documentation and information digitally without physically going to MRA offices.
In the 2019/20 National Budget, Minister of Finance, Economic Planning and Development Joseph Mwanamvekha announced several tax measures, including the carbon tax, tax exempt on specific motorcycles, surcharge on some imported goods.
He said MRA works to implement government tax policies and directives; hence, the institution is geared to enforce and implement measures in line with the fiscal plan revenue estimates.
In an earlier interview, African Tax Administrators Forum (Ataf) director of tax programmes Mary Baine, who heads the African continental revenue collection member bodies grouping, recently said African countries, including Malawi, cannot achieve meaningful development if they fail to maximise domestic tax revenue aided by digital platforms.
She said: “The era of digitisation is upon us and we can no longer ignore the fact that Africa’s much-needed tax base is being eroded through unrecorded revenue.
“Our continent needs all the resources if it is to promote its socio-economic growth and the well-being of its populations.”
Tax expert Emmanuel Kaluluma recently said the big challenge with MRA officials has been mindset as some officials advance personal interests at the expense of good ideas the institution has been advancing and called for reforms to match the tax online technology demands.