MRA’s Msonkho Online upgraded in a big bang with extra service modules

In its modernization reforms to, among others, widening the tax net; enhancing taxpayer service & education and integration of ICT systems, Malawi Revenue Authority (MRA) has upgraded its Msonkho Online in a big bang by including extra service modules.

This is part of a number of reform projects that MRA is carrying out in order to increase tax compliance and strengthen integrity — and the Msonkho Online (an integrated tax administration system that started its development in February 2016) — rolled out its registration module in January 2021, followed by the rollout of value added tax (VAT) return filing in November of that year.

Commissioner General John Biziwick making his presentation

Pay as you earn (PAYE); fringe benefits tax (FBT); CGT & domestic excise return filling commenced in December 2021 and since then the taxpayer was able to transact through Msonkho Online for returns on capital gains; dividend tax; domestic excise; FBT; non-resident tax; PAYE and VAT.

From Monday, May 8, 2023, Msonkho Online has been upgraded with tax returns on corporate income; personal income; provisional; withholding; presumptive; mining; VAT on imported services and partnership income return.

This was announced on Friday in Mangochi during an interface with Association of Business Journalists (ABJ), saying this falls under the MRA 4 Change reform strategy that aims at preparing MRA to adapt and adopt change brought by reform initiatives as well as at building a performance-driven and customer centric culture.

Confiscated smuggled goods

Head of Corporate Affairs, Steve Kapoloma appraised the journalists that this is all towards creating a better working environment; enhanced integrity; increased employee satisfaction; improved customer service and performance management.

The toll-free call centre number (672 through TNM, Airtel and MTL for customer service has been improved — to be answered after four rings while email is [email protected].

To further improve collection performance, MRA targets to add more tax stamps; block management; one-stop border post (established at Mchinji border with Zambia; disaster recovery sites; cargo scanners; centralised unlimited power supply (UPS); drones for smuggling surveillance and inland examination among others.

The fully operational block system has attracted over 2,125 newly registered taxpayers with over 782 tax returns received — translating to over K1.06 billion has been collected from newly registered taxpayers.

The inland examination has been enhanced by detaching the Flexible Anti-smuggling Team (FAST) from the mainstream operations to enhance its effectiveness taking cognizance of increasing figures of porous borders — thus the need to procure drones which has already been approved and is in final stages of procurement.

In the 2022-2023 financial year, FAST has made seizures of smuggled goods and under-declared goods of over 473 in its mandate to deter smuggling; cross checking duty payable and goods declared; checking if import documents are authentic; preventing the importation of illegal and harmful products from penetrating into the local market or leaving the local market.

Currently, there are five FAST offices — Northern FAST; Central FAST; Southern FAST; FAST East and FAST West while 11 more MRA road blocks have been extended to it.

Challenges include hostile communities, lack of knowledge, porous borders, informants working for smugglers — and to combat them, MRA will be tracking movement cargo consignments through COMESA Virtual Trade Facilitation System for inward and through transit plan to extend to breadbulks and tankers.

Thus the increased roadblocks as well as enhancing its informant reward scheme currently under review.

MRA appealed to the media to disseminate information on these tax measures; sensitize the public on dangers of smuggling; reporting smuggling-informant scheme and more coverage of smuggling & tax evasion.

The tax collector will be effecting high penalties for perpetual offenders, forfeitures & prosecution; enforcement of tax stamps — mostly on cigarettes to be extended to other products.

MRA has enhanced its Taxpayer Charter that supports revenue mobilisation strategy that derived from the Tax Administration Act and operationalises the MRA Act and Corporate Strategic Plan (Vision & Mission).

The Tax Charter is about meeting and exceeding the needs and aspirations for the taxpayers in the way MRA management and staff conduc themselves when dealing with the taxpayer.

In it is taxpayers’ rights that includes impartial treatment; presumption of honesty; access to information; privacy & confidentiality; provision of accurate and complete information; right to make a complaint and identification.

The taxpayers obligations include registering for Tax Identification Number (TIN — formerly known as TIPN); tax clearing certificate (TCC); keeping records; filing of accurate returns; accuracy of entries & refund claims; timely payment of taxes and cooperation with MRA officers.

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