March 2, 2017 / 10:38 AM / 9 months ago

Zambia to tag bank account holders in bid to broaden tax base

LUSAKA, March 2 (Reuters) - The Zambia Revenue Authority (ZRA) has asked all account holders to obtain Taxpayer Identification Numbers (TPIN) by the end of this year in an attempt to capture more tax payers and raise revenue, it said on Thursday.

ZRA Commissioner-General Kingsley Chanda said in a statement the measure would make it easier to identify individuals and entities in receipt of undeclared income like foreign dividends.

“This is one of the measures we thought would help us in broadening the tax base. It will ensure transparency,” Chanda said at a meeting with companies in the capital Lusaka, adding that account holders had until Dec 31 to register.

Africa’s second-biggest copper producer needs higher domestic revenue collection if the current levels of government expenditure are to be maintained in a sustainable manner, the World Bank said in a report in December last year.

Zambia collected 39.2 billion kwacha ($4 billion) in tax revenue in 2016, a 15 percent from the previous year, Chanda said.

Its economy has suffered from the steep commodity price drop of recent years.

Last March, Zambia began talks with the International Monetary Fund about a potential loan package after agreeing that its budget deficit was not sustainable, though formal talks have not yet been launched. ($1 = 9.6500 Zambian kwachas) (Reporting by Chris Mfula; Editing by James Macharia)

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