Asian businesses call for extension of compliance window

The Asian business community in Blantyre and Limbe has called on the Malawi Revenue Authority (MRA) to extend the Voluntary Compliance Window (VCW), saying three months is not enough to assess all their shortfalls.

The tax collecting body opened VCW from November 1 2013 to January 31 2014 to enhance tax compliance by businesses.

VCW is a tax relief initiative which provides an opportunity to taxpayers to pay their outstanding tax liabilities without payment of penalties, fines, interests or even prosecution for late payment.

Speaking on the behalf of the Asian Community in Blantyre during an interaction with MRA on Tuesday, Altaf Mahomed said the Asian community would have loved if the VCW was extended to 12 months and not three months.

Bizwick (L) meeting the Asian Business community on Tuesday

“This is a good initiative to us as business people, but the timeframe is very short looking at the majority of Asians who are carrying businesses in Malawi. Others do not know about this initiative.

They have to extend by nine months because we are still looking back to what we have not paid to MRA. But let me commend the tax collecting body for the initiative. What I am saying is not coming from me as an individual but from the Asian community whether in Zomba, Blantyre, Lilongwe or Mzuzu,” said Mahomed.

MRA’s Commissioner General John Bizwick said it was still early to talk about extending VCW.

“Currently, three months is enough to us. Since VCW started on 1st November 2013, the response has been good in terms of enquiries but it seems more publicity is needed on this issue.

“Once we close this window, MRA will intensify its enforcement activities to flash out all non-compliant taxpayers,” said Bizwick.

He said MRA wants to encourage willing taxpayers to come back to compliance levels to ensure fairness and equity of the tax system and remove frustrating obstacles.

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