Interest, Penalties and Offences

Failure to comply with various provisions of tax laws requirements may attract penalties and interest in tax recovery.  This section provides a brief description of Interest and Penalties involved and the way they are administered.

Interest

  1. Interest for underestimating tax payable

Installment payers who estimate their income tax payable for the year of income are expected to show high level of accuracy in estimation. Failure to estimate tax within the allowed limits, hence result into underestimation, shall attract interest.

The amount if interest that an installment payer shall pay for each period shall be calculated at the statutory rate and compounded monthly.

  1. Interest for failure to pay tax.

If any amount of tax imposed under any tax law remains unpaid after due dates as required by the respective tax law or regulation, attracts interest. The interest shall be charged at the statutory rate on the amount of tax outstanding at a given time.

In case, a withholding agent fails to pay the withholding tax due, he may not recover from the withholdee an interest payable due to this failure

Penalties

1. Failure to maintain documents

Failure to maintain proper documents as required by a tax law attracts a penalty for each month or part month during which the failure continues. The penalty in case of individual shall be 1 currency point and for a body corporate shall be 10 currency points.

The amount of tax attributable for a certain period and the manner of apportionment of tax assessed shall be determined by the commissioner on a just and reasonable basis

2.  Penalties for failure to file tax return

Failure to file return or pay tax on due dates attracts penalty for each month or part of month during which failure continues.

The amount of penalty is taken as the higher of the following:

  • 2.5% of the amount of tax assessed with respect to the tax return less tax paid by start of the period towards that amount, or
  • In case of an individual, 5 currency points, and for a body corporate is 15 currency points

Note:

The penalties apply separately for a failure to file an estimate/provisional return and for a failure to file a final return.

3.  Penalty for making false or misleading statements

False or misleading statements may result to tax shortfalls and this attracts penalties. The penalties are as follows:

  • where the statement or commissions is made without reasonable excuse, penalty shall be 50% of the tax shortfall
  • where the statement or omission is made knowingly or recklessly, penalty shall be 100% of the tax shortfall.

Note:

The penalty shall be increased by 10% for the second or subsequent repetition and shall be reduced by 10% if the person voluntarily discloses the statement prior to its discovery by tax the tax officer or the next tax audit of the person

A person is said to make a false or misleading statement if he makes a statement to a tax officer which is false or misleading in a material particular or omits to include in the statement made to the tax officer, any matter or thing without which the statement is misleading in a material particular.

4.  Penalty for aiding and abetting.

A person who aids, abets, counsels or induces another person to commit an offence contravenes the provisions of the law.  Upon conviction, this person shall be liable for a penalty of 100% of the tax shortfall.

Offences

Contravening the provisions of tax laws may result to offences. This involves procedures until conviction of a person and the respective tax recovery mechanisms for various offences are provided by the Tax Administration Act, 2015.