Churches are posing challenges to the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (ZIMRA) with the tax man finding it difficult to differentiate between which church funds belong to the church and to the church leader for taxation purposes.
Responding to question from legislators on Tuesday, ZIMRA board chairperson, Mrs Willia Bonyongwe said as a policy measure churches are not taxed although there are grey areas now arising from ownership of some certain church funds.
“As a policy we don’t tax churches, we don’t tax tithes and offerings, pastors pay paye, if a church has business it has to be taxed accordingly, if it’s a trust its taxed respectively but we now have a blurring situation where pastors and church money are one. If you go to the United States preachers like Creflo Dollar and Bill Winston all have issues with the IRS,” she said.
Churches and religious organisations are categorised as non-profit making organisations together with public charities, foundations, social welfare organisations and labour organisations among others.