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Companies Drag Govt to Court Over Tax Conflicts

The number of companies that are taking the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (ZIMRA) to court has ballooned to more than 20 as the war of attrition between the government revenue authority and companies intensifies.

Most companies told VOA that they are now seeking legal recourse after ZIMRA garnished millions of dollars from their accounts despite having agreed on payment plans. But ZIMRA sources, speaking on condition of anonymity, dismissed this claim as irresponsible saying they are giving companies a grace period to settle their arrears.

The confrontation has resulted in some companies turning to the Fiscal Court of Appeal and others to the High Court seeking redress. This is provided under the country’s tax laws.

Government sources said ZIMRA and Finance Minister Patrick Chinamasa are under immense pressure to raise revenue for the cash-strapped government.

Despite the clampdown, ZIMRA commissioner-general Gershem Pasi said in a 2014 half-year report that the taxman collected a total of $1,72 billion against a targeted amount of $1,74 billion.

Companies, banking institutions and others that have taken the legal route include, Zimplats, Standard Chartered Bank, Harare City Council, Zimbabwe Leaf Tobacco Company and Blanket Mine.

Senior economist Godfrey Kayenze of the Labour and Economic Development Research Institute said ZIMRA’s approach is counter-productive.