Mutarazi Skywalk,ZIMRA fight over $750 000 ‘tax evasion’ fine

MUTARE – The owners of one of Africa’s most popular tourist destinations – SkyWalk and SkyLine – in scenic Nyanga are at loggerheads with  the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (ZIMRA) after imposition of a RTGS$750 000 fine for alleged tax evasion, a move that might see the famous tourist attraction closing shop.   

The fine is for the period of nine years.

The owners are disputing the tax evasion allegations  and have since sought the intervention of President Emmerson Mnangagwa.

One of the owners Chris Craig recently wrote a letter to Mnangagwa calling for his intervention.

Reads part of the letter:

“We feel that we are right and have done everything within the laws of Zimbabwe. We would like to avoid at all costs a costly, emotionally draining, time consuming court case. We are therefore asking for the Office of the President to urgently intervene in this matter.”

Craig added:

“We are trying to build up the Eastern Highlands as much as possible as it is a beautiful part of Zimbabwe that people need to get to see and in the spirit of nation building and “Zimbabwe is open for Business”.

Craig argues that his organisation is a fully registered Educational Facility compliant with all laws of Zimbabwe.  He says ZIMRA subsequently refused to accept the certificates for a number of reasons suggesting that they were not valid and are now raising an invoice for VAT plus penalties on educational income of $2 500 000 for the last 9 years which is 15% VAT and 100% penalty on this figure – a sum close to $750 000.

“We are registered with local government and National Parks as an Education Facility. We submitted the following documents to ZIMRA:

“1) Letter from Nyanga National Parks authorising us as an Educational facility. 2) Our land (Lot 16 Pamushana) is registered with Nyanga Rural District council as an Education facility.

3) We were under audit by ZIMRA for the year 2013 for over two years in which time they disallowed some of our expenses which incurred a fee of $7 000 which we paid. We then appealed for amnesty on the extra 100% penalty which we were granted. We believed that this would be it but they then asked why we were not VAT registered,”he said.

“If this invoice is raised against us we will have to close the business with all of its implications,” said Craig in the letter to Mnangagwa.

The SkyWalk and SkyLine is a major tourist attraction in Africa that has attracted huge numbers of domestic and foreign tourists and is helping tourism and the economy grow in the country.

The SkyWalk is a tourism destination with two 30-metre and 90-metre suspension bridges that are designed to look like vines above the falls allowing a full mid-air view of the Mutarazi Falls.

The SkyLine is one of the zip line in the world where one can fly through clouds or crystal clear skies over the second highest waterfall in Africa.