Tanzania Association of Tour Operators (TATO) has urged their government to invent an online platform for tax payment.
TATO says that its members would like to pay all taxes on a single online platform to save time lost on making multiple tax payments.
Tour operators are subjected to 37 different taxes, comprising business registration, regulatory licenses fees, entry fees, income taxes and duties for each tourist vehicle per annum, among others.
TATO represents over 300 tour operators and it is Tanzania’s leading lobby agency for a tourism industry it is a vital foreign currency earner for Tanzania.
Highlighting key challenges facing the industry before the visiting the deputy minister for Finance, Dr Ashatu Kijaji, TATO Chairman, Willbard Chambulo said multiple taxes compliance consumes a lot of time and money and could encourage tax evasion.
The TATO chairman argued that the contentious issue is not only how to pay myriad taxes and make profits, but also the modality and time spent in complying with intricate taxes.
“Tour operators need streamlining of taxes to ease compliance because the cost of compliance is so high and as such it acts as an obstacle for voluntary compliance” Chambulo explained.
A study on Tanzania tourism sector indicates that the administrative burdens of completing license tax and hefty paperwork place a heavy cost on businesses in terms of time and money.
For instance, a tour operator spends over four months to complete regulatory paperwork, whereas in tax and license paperwork consume a total of 745 hours per year.
The report done by Tanzania Confederation of Tourism (TCT) and BEST- Dialogue, shows that average annual cost of personnel to complete regulatory paperwork per local tour operator is 2.9m/- (1,300 US dollar) per year.
Tanzania is estimated to be a home to over 1,000 tour companies, but official data shows that there are as few as 330 formal firms complying with tax regime, which is likely due to the complexities of compliance.
TATO hopes that the new system of issuing Tanzania Tourism Business License (TTBL) introduced by Natural Resources and Tourism Minister, Dr Hamis Kigwangala, would effectively bring informal tour operators into the tax net.