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MRA reveals extent of VAT fraud, evasion

The Malawi Revenue Authority (MRA) says despite implementing various interventions to improve compliance to Value Added Tax (VAT) regulations, many traders are still breaching provisions of the VAT Act and in the process costing the country huge sums of money in unremitted tax.

According to MRA, the most common VAT violations include issuing fraudulent fiscal receipts and using extended trading hours to avoid issuing fiscal receipts.

The authority is currently undertaking full implementation of the Electronic Fiscal Devises (EFDs) machines whose aim is to enhance VAT compliance through acquisition, installation and use of EFDs by VAT registered taxpayers.

MRA says it is now working with law enforcers to bring the culprits to account. Commissioner General at MRA, Thom Malata issued the warning during the launch of the “Lisiti Langa” campaign in Lilongwe.

“The Authority is aware that some traders are not issuing EFD receipts. I must warn those who are involved in this malpractice that the law will catch up with them,” Malata warned.

Malata said since the project was introduced last year, over 10,000 traders have registered and acquired the machines. He said before the introduction of the project, MRA faced numerous challenges in collecting VAT.

However, Malata said the implementation of EFDs has improved tax compliance in the country.

“We have registered substantial gains over the past one year in making VAT the most efficient tax regime in Malawi. The Authority is continuing with enforcement for both acquisition and usage of the machines. We are employing several strategies to enforce compliance including surveillances, observations, consumers’ interceptions and mock-buying.”

EFDs are operational in many countries including Kenya, Tanzania and Ethiopia.

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