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Taxpayers flock to relief window

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Taxpayers have swiftly responded to the Malawi Revenue Authority (MRA) call to grant reliefs through the Voluntary Compliance Window (VCW) initiative, Times Business has learnt.

MRA Head of Corporate Affairs, Steven Kapoloma, confirmed last week that over 300 businesses have applied, saying since the window was opened a couple of weeks ago, the number of enquiries from taxpayers is increasing.

The VCW is a measure that government has instituted to relieve taxpayers from possible shocks of Covid-19 pandemic. The window presents an opportunity for individuals and organisations to regularise their tax affairs without suffering penalties, interests and charges.

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“We are receiving more and more applications currently being processed. So far, submitted applications from taxpayers in various sectors of the economy are over 300.

“MRA is encouraging all other taxpayers who have overdue taxes not to hesitate but voluntarily access the application forms and submit to benefit from the compliance window,” Kapoloma said.

He observed that the window is open to all businesses and individual taxpayers who are not registered with MRA yet, but have transactions that were supposed to be taxed but were not.

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The window also caters for taxpayers 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 not declaring some transactions.

“The window is also there to assist taxpayers who had been filing tax returns and were assessed for tax but has tax arrears, except those who have made payment arrangement with MRA.

“In addition, the VCW could help taxpayers who have not been declaring imports or have been smuggling and those who have been misclassifying or under-declaring importation of goods for duty purposes,” Kapoloma said.

According to the MRA spokesperson, to apply for the relief, taxpayers need to complete a VCW application form accessible from the Authority’s website www.mra.mw or MRA stations spread across the country.

Malawi Confederation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry Director of Business Environment and Advocacy, Madalitso Kazembe, said the VCW is very crucial in providing a relief to businesses distressed by Covid 19.

Kazembe further urged MRA to fast-track the payment of tax arrears to taxpayers, most of which are facing a liquidity crunch due to delays by the tax collector in settling the arrears.

“MRA should pay arrears on withholding tax and VAT which sometimes take even 40 weeks before they refund,” Kazembe said.

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