The Malawi Revenue Authority (MRA) has opened a Voluntary Compliance Window (VCW) for six months to allow non-compliant taxpayers to settle their tax obligations without paying penalties, interest or any changes.
Commissioner General Tom Gray Malata announced the tax relief measure at a press briefing at Msonkho House on Wednesday, 8 April 2020.
He said VCW follows President Professor Peter Mutharika’s directive in response to the outbreak of Corona Virus Disease (COVID-19)
“The Malawi Revenue Authority will be implementing the window with effect from 8th April to 31st October 2020 to provide relief to individuals and organisations to regularize their tax affairs without suffering penalties, interests and charges. The window is also aimed at increasing voluntary compliance among business people,” he said.
He said VCW is an opportunity for existing and non-registered taxpayers that for some reasons have not been compliant in paying their taxes to regularize their tax affairs.
“It is our hope that even those taxpayers who have tax arrears arising from the negative impact of the pandemic and other challenges will take advantage of the window to clear their arrears within the specified period,” he said.
VCW is open to all businesses and individuals not registered with MRA yet but have transactions that were supposed to be taxed but were not or have transactions that are supposed to be taxed but are not taxed.
Businesses and individuals who are registered but not filing tax returns and not paying taxes due, registered but filing incorrect returns, registered and filing tax returns but became non-compliant by hiding some transactions are also eligible to apply.
Furthermore, taxpayers who had been filing tax returns and assessed for tax but have tax arrears, except those who have made payment arrangement with MRA, are also eligible to apply.
Taxpayers who had not been declaring imports or smuggling and those who had been misclassifying or under-declaring of importation for duty purposes are eligible to apply.
“The Authority is therefore encouraging all taxpayers and businesses to take advantage of the window to clear their tax arrears while the window is open,” Malata said.
However, the Commissioner General warned taxpayers who fail to come forward on their own to clear their debts that MRA will punish them in accordance with the existing tax laws.
“Once the window is closed, the Authority will embark on intensive and extensive audits and investigations to net all tax defaulters and smugglers with a view to collect all taxes due to Government in accordance with the country’s tax laws,” he said.
Taxpayers can apply for VCW by completing a VCW Application form that can be accessed from the MRA website www.mra.mw. VCW forms are also available at all MRA stations.
Completed forms can be uploaded on to the web site or emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org. Taxpayers can also send the completed form through WhatsApp to 0997 222 835 or 0997 222 836.
BY WADZA OTOMANI