Malawi Revenue Authority (MRA) has touted its Msonkho Online, a digital tax-paying and management platform, which it says is meeting its intended objective of bringing efficiency in revenue collection and management.
MRA rolled out the initiative last year with an aim of enhancing
efficiency and effectiveness in tax compliance and taxpayer service management by improving and automating business processes in the Domestic Taxes Division.
Before rolling out Msonkho platform, taxpayers were providing tax compliance information online, but were still required to submit hard copies of their tax returns to MRA offices.
But such a regime, was described by many taxpayers as time-consuming, cumbersome and tedious hence a push for a digitised system.
Taking stock of the system’s implementation one year later, MRA head of corporate affairs Steven Kapoloma said the authority is pleased with the benefits that the country is accruing from the initiative, stressing that the platform is providing a more user-friendly and cost-effective system for taxpayers to be able to register, file and pay taxes.
“It’s convenient, secure and accessible at any time and this is the feedback from our customers,” said Kapoloma in an interview yesterday.
He said taxpayers all over the country are using the platform to
access a wide range of tax services in one place hence the
Added Kapoloma: “The system provides a premier online taxpayer service, where you can quickly and easily register for tax, file tax return or pay taxes 24/7 via the MRA website www.mra.mw. The system is quick, easy, tailored, and secure and allow you to manage your tax transactions at a time that is convenient for you.”
He said the web based solution has modules capable of effecting and monitoring key activities of a modern tax administration such as registration, de-registration, assessment, taxpayer accounting, audit, compliance, case management, objections and appeals.
This system is managing a range of domestic and international trade taxes, including but not limited to Income Tax, Value Added Tax, Withholding Tax, Fringe Benefits Tax, Provisional Tax, Turnover Tax, and Pay-As-You-Earn (PAYE). The Authority is implementing the system as part of the Modernization programme which aims at improving efficiencies in revenue administration.
Commenting on specific benefits that taxpayers are reaping from the system, Kapoloma explained that Msonkho system is enabling taxpayers to transact real-time including registering for taxes, filing tax returns and even paying their tax liabilities.
Other benefits, Kapoloma said, include reduction of travel time to MRA offices just to deliver a tax return or make payment, reduction of paper work on submission of tax returns, minimising the challenges of missing or misplaced returns within MRA offices, instant processing of returns since the returns will be processed by the system.
He added: “There is always notification for any movement in the account of taxpayer account for any tax, consistent access to services and subjection of uniform or similar procedures across MRA, uniform application of tax laws will offer fair services and more importantly, increasing efficiency in services in terms of time, quality and convenience.”
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.
A local tax expert who is Blantyre-based Emmanuel Kaluluma recently told The Nation that the big challenge with MRA officials was to do with mindset as some officials were advancing personal interests at the expense of good ideas the institution has been advancing and called for reforms to match the tax online technology demands.