Sunday, 30 January 2011

TRA bid to recover Sh9bn diamond tax flops

From The Citizen Daily, Dar es Salaam
By Bernard James, The Citizen Reporter

Evidence of how Tanzania has not fully benefited from its vast mineral wealth continues to emerge, the latest being the government’s failed bid to recover Sh9 billion in an unpaid taxes dispute arising from the sale of diamonds in the United Kingdom.

The Tax Revenue Appeals Board (Trab) recently ruled in favour of Williamson Diamond Limited, nullifying a Sh9 billion tax liability the Tanzania Revenue Authority (TRA) had imposed on the company over allegedly unremitted tax.

This comes just a year after the government closed down its London-based diamond sorting firm, Tansort, over its failure to generate revenue.

However, the TRA, determined to recover the money, has appealed against the decision at the Tax Revenue Appeals Tribunal (Trat), the hearing of which is scheduled to start tomorrow in Mwanza City.

The matter dates back to 2008, when TRA’s tax investigation department in Mwanza moved to audit Williamson Diamond Limited for the period from 1999 to 2006.

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