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THE Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (ZIMRA) wants all Premier Soccer League (PSL) players to start paying tax with indications players may face PAYE bills backed to January.

ZIMRA revealed the plan at a recent one-day workshop with treasurers of all 16 Premier Soccer League clubs.

The tax authority revealed at the meeting that only three clubs – Highlanders, Dynamos and FC Platinum – were registered with ZIMRA. This means that most Zimbabwean footballers have not been paying their fair share of tax.

ZIMRA said it wants the soccer players to pay income tax back-dated to January this year.

The move has however, sparked howls of protest from the players’ union, the Football Union of Zimbabwe (FUZ).

The union said it plans to engage ZIMRA not to backdate the tax bill arguing such a move would be retrogressive as most players were hardly getting by because of poor salaries.

FUZ says some players take home as little as $150 a month.

“We want to make it abundantly clear that we are not objecting to the calls by ZIMRA for players and clubs to pay tax because that is a statutory requirement.

“We are appealing to ZIMRA to start collecting the tax with effect from this month and not January,” said Paul Gundani, the FUZ secretary general.

Under the new club licensing rules, teams are expected to register with ZIMRA within a month of their formation and immediately begin deducting Pay As You Earn (PAYE) from players’ salaries.

ZIMRA has been on a country-wide campaign to tighten the bolts on tax-evaders.

The move to chase Zimbabwe’s footballers is likely to have a devastating impact on the players who are among the lowest paid in the region.

The lowest paid players are said to take home $150 a month, with those playing for sponsored teams getting a measly $300 a month.

This is way below the poverty datum line which currently stands at just over $500.

Source : New Zimbabwe