THE Post Newspaper has an obligation to pay taxes upon assessment as opposed to the High Courts suggestion that Fred M’membe should only pay within 90 days after the disposal of the Supreme Court appeal.
This was disclosed by the Zambia Revenue Authority (ZRA) which has challenged the High Court ruling which has suggested that the newspaper should only pay taxes after the conclusion of the appeal case, whose period is not known.
The agency explained that the High Court ruling was against the legal timeframe within which the Post was required to pay at assessment.
“By ruling that the Post shall make itself current on its tax obligations with the
appellant (ZRA) within 90 days of the disposal of the appeal at the Supreme Court, the court below did not only usurp the powers of this court but also disregarded the statutory timeframe within which the respondent as a taxpayer is required to pay its taxes to the appellant,” read the record of appeal.
They explained in their appeal to the Supreme Court that once served with the assessment notice, clients must exercise the “pay now and argue later” method of response as they process their arguments as per procedure. This was the norm and practice.
ZRA charged that even provisions in the Value Added Tax Act obligated taxpayers to straight away pay the assessed amount notwithstanding an appeal pending.
“…A taxpayer is obliged to pay the assessed tax, called value added tax (VAT) plus consequential imposts there and then, possible adjustment and refunds being left for dispute and determination later” they quoted.The Agency filed four heads of arguments challenging the High Court ruling which suggested that the Post Newspapers should be given up to 90 days after the appeal to pay
taxes owed, which exceeded its jurisdiction.
Other heads of arguments included concerns over the ruling’s disregard of the principle of the statutory timeframe to pay its taxes, and that taxes are due and immediately payable notwithstanding an appeal by the taxpayer; and that the respondent had no merit in being granted a stay against the agency’s move to carry out on the spot checks in their investigations of suspected invasion of tax claims against the newspaper.