PAYE Explained

Different types of income/remuneration received or receivable by an employee are taxable? “Remuneration”  means any amount of income which is paid or payable to any person by way of any salary, leave pay, allowance, wage, overtime pay, bonus, gratuity, commission, fee, emolument, pension, superannuation allowance, retiring allowance, stipend or commutation of a pension or an annuity, whether in cash or otherwise and whether or not in respect of services rendered.

A variety of advantages and benefits granted by an employer or on behalf of an employer to an employee, spouse or child are also taxable.

Advantage or benefit includes board, occupation of quarters or residence, or the use of furniture or motor vehicle. It also includes the use of or enjoyment of any other property whatsoever, corporeal or incorporeal, including a loan, an allowance, passage benefit and any other advantage or benefit whatsoever in lieu of or in the nature of remuneration as stated above.

The value for tax purposes of an advantage or benefit, other than a payment by way of an allowance, is determined as follows:

(i) in the case of the occupation or use of quarters, residence or furniture, by reference to its value to the employee; and

(ii) in the case of any other advantage or benefit, by reference to the cost to the employer

The following are some of the examples of the benefits/advantages normally granted to employees and how they should be taxed:

Use of motor vehicle

Where an employee enjoys the use of a company vehicle or is allocated a company vehicle, the value of the benefit is determined according to the engine capacity of the vehicle. The deemed motor vehicle benefits for 2012 tax year are as follows:

Engine capacity of motor vehicle

Deemed value

Up to 1500cc

$1 800

Over 1500cc -2000cc

$2 400

Over 2000cc -3000cc

$3 600

Over 3000cc

$4 800

The deemed cost should be reduced proportionately where the period of use for the motor vehicle is less than 12 months.

Passage benefit

The benefit covers the cost borne by an employer on travels by an employee, spouse or children, which are not for the purposes of the employer’s business.  This includes the cost on taking up of employment or termination of employment where such costs have been previously offered to the employee.

Occupation of residence

A  benefit arises where the employer  grants the employee free accommodation or pays subsidised rentals or rental charges  which  are below the open market rates  applicable in that area.

Where the employee does not pay anything towards that accommodation , the whole amount - determined on the basis of the open market value -  is a benefit and subject to tax. Where an employee pays rentals less than the open market value of the house/accommodation, the difference between the amount paid and the market value constitutes a benefit. For example, if an employee occupies a house granted by the employer and valued at US$1000 per month for which he/she pays US$300 per month as rent, the benefit to be taxed in the employee’s hands would be US$700 per month.

For valuation of quarters or residences other than those mentioned above, the respective employers may engage and agree with ZIMRA before determining the benefit.

School fees benefit

Where the employer pays school fees for the employee’s children, the cost of the fees payable becomes taxable in the hands of the employee. In cases where the employer is a school and the employee’s child is admitted/enrolled at the school without paying school fees or pays fees that are less than those paid by other students attending the same school, the foregone fees become  a taxable benefit  in the hands of the employee. In addition, any school fees discounts or reductions granted because of the employer-employee relationship become taxable benefits in the hands of the employee.

Loan benefit

Where the employer gives a loan to the employee amounting to a prescribed amount, a benefit will only arise where the interest rate charged on the loan is lower than the prescribed rates of interest or the loan is not fully repaid. The prescribed interest rates are based on the London Inter–Bank Offered Rates (LIBOR).   For instance, the LIBOR rate of interest to be used in calculating PAYE due in respect of the loan benefit  for the month of January 2012 is 5.30%. The LIBOR rates for other periods can be obtained from the ZIMRA website (www.zimra.co.zw).

Allowances/ incentives

Allowances/incentives granted by the employer or on behalf of the employer to an employee, spouse or child form part of gross income and are liable to tax.

Other benefits

There are a number of benefits that can be granted to employees. Clients are, therefore, advised to contact their nearest office for guidance on tax treatment if needed.

Calculation of Employees Tax : Pay As You Earn (PAYE)

The PAYE system is a method of paying Income Tax on remuneration. The employer is responsible for the calculation of the PAYE due from all forms of remuneration granted to the employees in terms of the 13th schedule to the Income Tax Act. The employee, on the other hand, is expected to furnish the employer with full information on other sources of income and proof of the allowable deductions and credits to be taken into account in determining PAYE liability.

The allowable deductions include pension contributions, subscriptions to professional, trade or technical associations and cost of tradesman’s tools, among others. Credits include mentally or physically disabled person’s credit, elderly person’s credit, blind person’s credit, medical expenses and cost of purchasing invalid appliances.

The rates of tax applicable each year are provided for in the Finance Act and the tax deduction tables can be obtained from the ZIMRA website. The tax table operates on an escalating scale basis (i.e. the higher the earnings, the greater the percentage of tax that should be paid by the employee). It should, however, be noted that when the earnings reach a certain amount, a flat rate of tax becomes applicable for any earnings above this level. All forms of remuneration should be taken into account before subjecting the income to tax.

PAYE is calculated as follows:

  • Determine gross income for the day/week/month/year.
  • Deduct exempt income, for instance bonus as per limit in the Act, you get => Income
  • Deduct allowable deductions, e.g. pensions,  you get => Taxable Income
  • Apply the rate of tax applicable, you get => PAYE due before Aids Levy
  • Apply the 3% Aids Levy on PAYE, you get => Total tax  to be remitted to ZIMRA

Remission of PAYE to ZIMRA

Any employer who deducts PAYE from the employee’s remuneration is expected to remit the amount to ZIMRA on or before the 10th of the following month.


 
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