Despite bagging 22.4 billion birr in tax revenue during the first half of the 2020/21 fiscal year, the Addis Ababa Revenues Bureau expressed its frustration over rampant counterfeit receipts which have affected its revenues collection.
Mulugeta Tefera, Head of the Revenues Bureau, said both legal and counterfeit receipts are being used in the market and taxpayers issue the fake ones as if they are legitimate papers.
According to Mulugeta, they have received a total of 14,141 reports of fake receipts in the first half of the fiscal year. From the total suspected receipts, 7,566 were investigated and 2,309 were found to be fake receipts.
“Receipts valued at 610 million birr brought to the Bureau by taxpayers to report VAT collection were also found to be counterfeit following an investigation into their legitimacy,” he said.
He also added that fake receipts are rampant in the city and they are conducted in an organized manner making it complex to resolve. Printing companies are also involved in the printing of these fake receipts in addition to people that distribute these receipts to users. Hence, Mulugeta highlighted the need for cooperation among various institutions to prevent the practice of issuing fake receipts.
According to him, the use of fake receipts is promoted in two forms. The first involves legal traders that issue fake receipts, while the other involves illegal traders that issue fake receipts. And apart from the traders, some customers are also responsible for the use of fake receipts in the market.
In order to enhance awareness among taxpayers, the Bureau had entered a binding agreement with taxpayers in order to avoid the use of phony receipts and Mulugeta expects this to significantly decrease the use of fake receipts.
Intelligence works conducted by the Bureau on some taxpayers also found out that some corrupt employees of the Bureau also had roles in the use of these fake receipts. Because of such involvements, the Bureau has taken administrative measures on 40 staff members during the first half of the fiscal year 2020/21.
Apart from this, according to Mulugeta, some people are pretending to be employees of the Bureau to receive bribes from taxpayers by displaying fake identification cards. The police are investigating the matter.