Sex workers to pay government tax

This journalist has learnt that the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (ZIMRA) may soon start collecting taxes from 'all' small to medium enterprises in order to increase an ever shrinking government revenue status.

prostitutes1Those who are to be taxed include all vendors, irrespective of what they sell – from artists who sell their art and expertise to sex workers who provide services.

“If tax collectors go ahead with this proposal, it will have a negative affect on artists especially. It is hard enough to make a living as an artist in this country. It is a constant struggle because, unlike in other SADC countries, this country does not assist struggling artists,” said an emotional Emmanuel Mukoroverwa, film maker and group leader of the Tatenda Drama Group.

An artist who claimed to be struggling to record his album echoed these sentiments: “I hope that this will not happen. It would be tantamount to killing the music industry. How can any government do such a thing to its people?  it took me almost six month to come up with one album due to financial constrains.”

“There are no grants or loans from government available to artists and yet they want to reap the benefits of that which they did not sow. As it is, our arts organisation finds it difficult to make ends meet as we are self sponsored,” said Jonas Pio Mupamba, chairperson of the Arts Spring Association.

A lady of the night, who declined to be identified, said the following: “Things are not good. On a good night, I take home about $10 after seeing two or more clients, but often I go home empty handed. Taxing me is an absolutely ridiculous idea and whoever thought it up is not very clever. Are they going to monitor my clients and record how much I earn?”

According to a respected financial institution, revenue collections for the third quarter of last year fell 9% behind. With this trend likely to continue in the fourth quarter, the percentage is going to be even higher considering the cash squeeze and poor economics. Corporate income tax was at $92 million, missing the $104 million target.

At a ZIMRA Fiscal and Tax Management System workshop held on the 8th  of November, 2016 in the Gweru boardroom, Head of Audits, Ms A T Hwaya expressed concern that people in the informal sector earn a lot of cash without remitting anything to the government, hence the proposal to tax ‘all’ informal traders.

“Our office is engaging with the Ministry of small to medium enterprise development on how to get hold of those that presently dodge paying tax,” she said.

Answering question at the same workshop, ZIMRA tax management official, Frank Madzokere said that the proposed taxation could earn government an additional $3 billion to $7 billion from the informal sector if implemented.

“The main aim of ZIMRA is to start collecting tax from small to medium enterprises. We are currently working on an invoicing system that will help us to audit this particular sector,” he said, adding that a delegation had done research in a country that already implemented a system of taxing vendors, artists and commercial sex workers.

Post published in: Economy

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