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Authority recognizes 200 “loyal” taxpayers

The Ministry of Revenues has recognized 200 selected taxpayers in three categories, platinum, gold and silver levels, for their loyalty in paying taxes. The recognition took place on Thursday, September 17, 2020, in the premises of the Office of the Prime Minister (PMO). Accordingly, 20 platinum level, 60 gold level and 120 silver level taxpayers were recognized at the ceremony.

The second of its kind in the country, this recognition is meant to encourage more taxpayers to loyally pay their taxes on time and enhance tax compliance. While presenting the recognition certificates and plaques to selected taxpayers, Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed has recommended providing special services to these loyal taxpayers so that others could be motivated to pay taxes and get the same honor like them.

“You are Ethiopia’s heroes and heroines by not succumbing to theft,” he said.

Abiy expressed his dissatisfaction with the number of recognized taxpayers, who should have been in the thousands but are only 200, “Because there are many thieves both from the government and the taxpayer’s camp.”

Therefore, unless these thieves are removed from both sides, it would be difficult to bring about prosperity and think of development, he said.

“If we aspire to see a better tomorrow, if we want peace, if we want to work without any problem and properly pay taxes, we should multiply loyal taxpayers,” he asserted. Nonetheless, as for the people that ask the government to maintain peace in the country without paying their taxes, are standing against the principle of a righteous government system, and that they are not making the right demands as they are not fulfilling their duties, Abiy stressed.

Therefore, loyal taxpayers, like the 200, should get priority services and preferential treatment whenever they go, apart from a once-a-year recognition.

“I can assure you that we will make it our culture that loyal taxpayers get preferential treatment and we will decrease theft through this and multiply loyal taxpayers like you,” Abiy promised, disclosing that anyone who would expose corrupt officials would get tax cuts whose amount will be determined by the Ministry of revenues.

Lake Ayalew, Minister of Revenues, said that the recognized taxpayers were selected based on 12 criteria’s that include clear availability of basic taxpayer information, declaration of taxes, fine history of taxpayers, gaps in audit finding, assessment of tax difference, difference in requests for refund, the contribution of the taxpayer for the branch office, and a clean track record.

Maintaining that the tax authority has taken measures to help businesses affected by COVID-19, like extending VAT payment periods so that the businesses can use the money for some time and tax relief for accumulated taxes in the last six years, Lake said that the performance of June and July in tax collection is promising and that the 290 billion tax collection plan for the current fiscal year will be attained. He indicated that his Ministry planned to collect 39.4 billion birr in taxes and managed to achieve 107 percent of the plan by collecting 42.2 billion birr.

“This has registered a 4.02 billion birr or 10.7 percent growth compared to the performance of the last fiscal year’s first two months. Therefore, our plan is attainable as we can see from the first two months’ performance,” Lake said.