PROPERTY owners may now breathe a sigh of relief after the government announced extension of tax payment deadline to July 31, but maintained a firm stance on service station operators who fail to instal Electronic Fiscal Devices (EFDs).
The government had previously set June 30 as the deadline for settling property tax, but was forced to extend to July 15 after an influx of taxpayers overwhelmed TRA officers across the country.
Announcing the extension of the deadline, Tanzania Rev enue Authority (TRA) Director for Taxpayer Services and Education, Richard Kayombo, said some TRA offices in Dar es Salaam were continuing to collect property tax along other levies.
He mentioned the TRA offices that were carrying out such roles as TRA Mbagala, TRA Temeke Maduka Mawili, TRA Kigamboni, TRA LAPF Kijitonyama, TRA Tegeta, TRA Kimara, TRA Manzese, TRA Ilala, TRA Gerezani, TRA Vingunguti and TRA Samora.
He also said the TRA office located at Mwalimu Nyerere International Trade Fair (DITF) grounds commonly known as Sabasaba grounds was continuing to collect property tax alongside others.
“All property owners, including individuals, companies and institutions have the duty to pay property tax by turning up at TRA offices,” Kayombo said.
He added: “TRA will continue receiving property tax payments for 2016/17 financial year until July 31 without penalties alongside payments for 2017/18 effective tomorrow.”
He said that elders who are exempted from tax should turn up at TRA offices with documents to prove their cases, which include introduction letters from local government officials and retirement documents for retirees. Speaking about the closed fuel stations for failing to use EFDs, Mr Kayombo said a countywide crackdown will continue.
According to Mr Kayombo, 71 fuel stations had been closed by yesterday. Giving the breakdown, Mr Kayombo said Kinondoni District had 28 fuel stations being closed with 23 showing signs of cooperation.
A total of 31 service stations were closed in Ilala, but 20 of them were also showing signs of compliance while in Temeke TRA closed 12 stations, nine of which showed signs of cooperation.
Mr Kayombo said TRA was closely monitoring all stations that showed cooperation to see the possibility of allowing them to continue with business.
“This arrangement goes on and will continue being implemented countrywide. Only oil dealers who will comply with the government directives by installing EFDs will be allowed to do business,” he insisted.
A survey conducted by the ‘Sunday News’ in various regions witnessed thousands of residents standing in long queues in an attempt to settle property tax while motorists hassled to search for fuel due to closure of fuel stations.
In Dodoma, Regional Taxpayers Service and Officer Barnabas John told the ‘Sunday News’ that they were battling the huge numbers of taxpayers, adding that “we have managed to service all our clients.”
Mr John said the authority was forced to use Electronic Fiscal Devices (EFDs) to speed up the exercise on Friday and yesterday when thousands of Dodoma residents turned up to clear their pending payments.
“Majority of residents who turned up to settle property tax were new landlords who had not been registered in the system,” he said.
According to him, new taxpayers were required to physically turn up at TRA offices for registration before being allowed to make payments through mobile phones in the future.
He said the authority was currently planning to adopt a system, including hiring agents at every ward to process payments on behalf of TRA as part of strategies to reduce congestion at the regional office.
Mr John expressed optimism of making the payment system simple after the government approved the hiring of new employees. “The newly employees will assist in the tax collection.”
In the country’s northern zone the ‘Sunday News’ witnessed TRA officers inspecting fuel stations to find out if EFDs had been installed. Arusha TRA Regional Manager, Mr Apili Mbaruku said yesterday that more than 40 stations had been closed down in the region and that the exercise to verify compliance was still going on.
According to Mr Mbaruku, TRA closed down 25 fuel stations in Arusha City Council, while in Monduli 12 stations were padlocked. In Karatu District 11 fuel stations faced the government wrath while Arumeru four stations were sealed.
Mr Mbaruku said his office was yet to receive reports from Longido and Ngorongoro districts where the crackdown was still going on yesterday afternoon. In Kilimanjaro Region, TRA closed 34 petrol stations in three districts after the inspections proved that they were operating without EFDs.
TRA Regional Manager, Mr Philip Kimune said that the crackdown was conducted on Friday in Moshi municipality, Hai and Siha districts. The crackdown continued yesterday in Mwanga, Rombo and Same districts.