The Federal Revenue and Customs Authority (RCuA)
holds a second round of talks with the business
community, although the discussions hardly narrowed
the differences between the two sides nor offered
any desired answers to the business community.
The discussion involved the use of cash register
machines and tax issues. The Authority stressed that
the use of cash register machines was an obligation
in every business transaction including the
construction sector and the door-to-door delivery of
The cash register machine was designed by the tax
authority to substitute manual receipts. This device
is equipped with a technology that automatically
transfers sales data to the central database at the
Revenue and Customs Authority (RCuA).
The practicality of using these machines for
door-to-door delivery and advance payment was a
major point of discussion on the second meeting
which took place on September 8, 2009.
“Does this mean we are supposed to give everyone of
our drivers a cash register?” a baffled participant
Packed milk delivery was undertaken by several
drivers at a time, and this businessman wondered how
the cash register could possibly be used as told the
authorities. The official responses would not
satisfy this and the nearly 300 other businesspeople
who filled the conference room at the Ras Hotel.
VAT had to be deducted in advance from the total
amount of milk given to each distribution vehicle
the officials said.
“We can not consider whatever goes out of the store
as sold,” commented Tadesse Tilahun, chief executive
officer of National Oil Company.
He was continuing the argument which he started at
the first meeting two months ago at Harmony Hotel.
The businesspeople also expressed their concerns on
the calculation of tax, duty free imports, and the
issue dump trucks having to pay VAT. They asked for
an improved service at customs checkpoints, to stop
fighting under-invoicing by using price lists from
the Authority’s database.
The gathered businesspeople, who asked spontaneous
questions to the authorities, were like the previous
gathering two months in that both groups seemed to
have little interest in what the RCuA officials were
saying. Some even walked out when the meeting was
about to end considering it a waste of time.
“This is just useless,” a participant who was
walking out of the meeting told Fortune. “We
did not get anything we came to hear from them.”
“This meeting was meant to narrow our differences,”
Buzayehu Tadesse, a participant from Africa
Insurance told Fortune.
A participant who accused the Authority of not
revealing how it did some of its tax calculations
called the officials, dictators. This meeting was
attended by about 200 less people than the previous
meeting. A third meeting is not likely. The
officials have extended their invitations to the
businesspeople to visit their offices with any of
their concerns with the activities of the Authority.