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In Addis and other parts of Ethiopia the change in tax evaluations for class c businesses, (those that make 500,000 birr or less a year), has been a hot topic of discussion.
Businesses have expressed disappointment with the new levy, which they claim does not take into account their reality on the ground. However revenue offices of the regional and city government of Addis Ababa rejected their concerns, saying that their method followed scientific principles.
Some of the business appealed to the tax offices while others stopped business as a form of protest.
Recently the Ethiopian Revenue and Customs Authority (ERCA) Addis Ababa branch stated that claims had to be delivered individually, since the assessment is undertaken separately.
“Claims by groups are unacceptable,” Netsanet Abera, ERCA’s Addis Ababa Tax Program and Coordinating Deputy Head, said at a press conference held two weeks ago.
Tax is the major source for the development of the country. For instance, for this budget year the government is expected to collect 196.4 billion birr from tax and related sources. For the 2017/18 fiscal year the government has allocated 320.8 billion birr.
The last assessment in Addis Ababa occurred in 2011. It is supposed to occur every three years. In different regions assessments follow other time schedules.
Fasika Belay, Deputy Public Relation head of ERCA, said that the assessment is based on the estimation set by the tax officers. “Mistakes can occur since the businesses do not have tangible documents,” he told Capital.
He said the business community should appeal in a legal manner by following the directive 123/2017 issued in March.
He confirmed that some of the businesses shut their shops late this week. “Our officers spoke with the shop owners who closed their doors on Thursday July 21 at Kolfe, one of the major business centers in Addis Ababa,” he added. He explained that the businesses have agreed to use the legal process to appeal.
In the Amhara, Tigray and SNNP regions, the process is going smoothly however some problems occurred in Oromia as shops in some towns suspended their activity, according to the deputy head.
The tax collection in the country is lower than the regional average according to the government and different international organizations like the International Monetary Fund (IMF). Currently the total tax collection is less than 13 percent of the GDP, according to reports.
In the Growth and Transformation Plan (GTP I), that ended July 2015, the government planned for tax collection to reach 15 percent of the GDP. Even though the actual achievement did not meet targets, tax collection grew.
According to the GTP II projection, tax collection will reach 17 percent of GDP in 2020. However tax collection has remained stagnant.