A diagnosis of the deficiencies in the Zimbabwean value added tax system

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The paper analyzes the Zimbabwean VAT system. The main objective was to establish and evaluate the gaps within the Zimbabwean VAT system, with the view of closing them so that the Zimbabwean VAT is attuned to the dictates of the best practice VAT. A review of literature was used and the main sources of information were the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority, the South African Revenue Services, literature from various journal articles and books and various reports and legislative instruments. The key finding of the study was that the Zimbabwean VAT system falls short of both the South African and best practice VATs. The main reasons for the gap are; a narrow VAT base fuelled by rampant VAT zero-rates and exemptions; it defies the destination principle; it does not conform to the principle of tax neutrality and tax simplicity; and it has high costs of collection and compliance. The study recommends that the Zimbabwean VAT system should be aligned to the best practice VAT through streamlining VAT privileges and correctly implementing the destination principle. Adequate funding should be allocated to the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority in order to embrace the Information Communication Technology (ICT) drive to reduce costs of compliance and collection.

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    • Fig. 1. VAT thresholds in 14 ATAF member states
    • Table 1. VAT years of introduction, rates and thresholds in SADC countries
    • Table 2. Goods currently on the Zimbabwe exempt and zero rated lists
    • Table 3. Domestic VAT expenditures (zero rates and exemptions) versus collections
    • Table 4. Standard VAT rates and VAT on exports in Zimbabwe