BARELY a day after the Daily Nation exposed the Post Newspaper that it had accumulated more than K8 million in unpaid taxes to the Zambia Revenue Authority (ZRA), the authority has summoned the Newspaper to a meeting on Friday to discuss an outstanding K24, 063.43 in unpaid taxes.
And ActionAid has charged that revelations that Post Newspaper Limited has accumulated more than K8 million in unpaid taxes to ZRA meant that there were a lot of things that were going wrong in the country.
Meanwhile, the MMD has demanded that the ZRA and the Ministry of Finance must immediately compel the Post Newspaper to settle the K8 million because it was against tax laws for any organisation to abrogate its tax obligations.
The Daily Nation on Tuesday broke the story that the Post Newspaper that had been claiming to be a clean and law abiding business had in fact stopped meeting its tax obligations soon after the Patriotic Front (PF) formed government in September 2011.
But on the date the story was published, the ZRA wrote a letter to the Daily Nation where it stated that the company was owing K24, 063.43 which was inclusive of penalties and interest.
The letter dated 9th September, 2014 and signed by ZRA Commissioner-of domestic taxes Priscilla Banda stated that the Daily Nation had not been consistent with submission of returns and payments.
Mrs Banda has since invited the Daily Nation for a meeting scheduled for tomorrow, Friday, 12th September, 2014 to discuss the settlement of the liabilities.
The meeting between ZRA and the Daily Nation is scheduled at 09:30 hours and this is the first time that the authority has written to the Daily Nation complaining that the newspaper was not consistent with submission of returns and payments.
“A review of our records indicates that you have not been consistent with submission of returns and payments. Consequently, there is about K24,063.43 outstanding in unpaid taxes inclusive of penalties and interest on your account. We are therefore inviting you for a meeting on Friday 12th September, 2014 at 09:30 hours to discuss the settlement of liabilities,” Mrs Banda said.
And ActionAid country manager Pamela Chisanga said in her facebook posting yesterday that it was surprising that the Post Newspaper was allowed not to pay more than K8 million in taxes since 2011.
Ms Chisanga wondered how it had to take Patriotic Front (PF) cadre Julius Komaki to have exposed the Post Newspaper while ZRA and the Ministry of Finance were watching the newspaper breach tax rules without getting checked.
“I am really concerned by all these revelations on Taxation. The Post Newspapers has now been exposed for not paying close to K8million in taxes since 2011. There are a lot of things wrong with all this – firstly I wonder where Komaki, a PF cadre got all this information? Why didn’t the Ministry of Finance say anything on this?” she asked.
Ms Chisanga wondered why ZRA was chasing traders at COMESA market while leaving out companies like the Post Newspaper adding that there was need to take quick analysis of levels of compliance on tax payments from various sectors.
She said it was important to conduct an assessment of why ZRA has been failing to collect revenue from various entities stating that there could be a possibility that the country could be losing a lot more colossal sums of money in tax avoidance.