3 June 2022
Signatures: 108Next Goal: 200
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Why this petition matters

It is a maxim of constitutional democracy that government power can only be exercised pursuant to certain conditions and limitations. Thus, the power to tax, like other government powers, is naturally circumscribed by constitutional norms that define the relationship between government and citizen.
The promotion of a public finance system that ensures that the burden of taxation is shared fairly is one of the guiding principles of public finance enshrined in the Constitution; per Article 198(b)(i) of the Constitution of Zambia (Amendment) Act (No. 2 of 2016).
One of the principles governing the management and development of Zambia’s environment and natural resources is that the benefits accruing from the exploitation and utilisation of the environment and natural resources shall be shared equitably amongst the people of Zambia; per Article 255(f) of the Constitution of Zambia (Amendment) Act (No. 2 of 2016).
In order for benefits accruing from the exploitation and utilisation of minerals to be adequate for sharing by the people of Zambia, it has to be considered unfair that the burden of mineral royalty taxation should be taken as deductible from company income tax.
The mines, as the mainstay of the economy, should contribute their fair share of the burden of taxation without enjoying special privileges because this is the constitutional requirement.
More so, the State has failed to eliminate unfair trade practices in the production, processing, distribution and marketing of minerals as required by Article 255 (i) of the Constitution of Zambia (Amendment) Act (No. 2 of 2016).
It is worth recalling that the Supreme Court of Zambia in  Mopani Copper Mines Plc v Zambia Revenue Authority (SCZ/8/269/2016) noted that there is a problem posed to the fiscus of many developing countries by multinational corporations engaged in the extractive industry. The Supreme Court also noted that the inadequacy of institutional capacity to deal effectively with such corporations, as well as yearning gaps in the much needed expertise to gather and interpret essential technical information for enhanced tax revenue collection from multinational corporations.
Regarding the burden of taxation, the Constitution through the principle of fairness imposes a fundamental limitations on the tax legislations power to make mineral royalty tax deductible from company income tax.
One of the basic tenets of fairness is that there should be no privileges in taxation because "the greatest source of inequality" is the practice of those who try to shift tax to someone else.

The new income tax act contains objectionable exemptions allowing deductibility of mineral royalty tax that are not based on considerations of fairness in sharing the burden of taxation.

Reducing the tax burden of certain individuals based on the special character of income or  expense that is not shared by all is the equivalent of an unconstitutional tyranny which seeks to reconfigure the burdens of taxpayers on the basis of immaterial political considerations.
Tax deductions are a form of subsidy paid indirectly through the tax system. These have the same effect as a cash payment to the organization in the amount of tax it would have had to pay. Thus, the income tax statute was a legislative choice to subsidize one mines, shifting the burden of taxation unfairly on the working class.
Giving mines special treatment is unconstitutional because it is unfair.
In light of mechanization, job creation is not a justification for subsidizing private mines. Neither is increased investment because a pledge is generally unenforceable.
The deductibility of mineral royalty tax does not bear a rational relationship to a legitimate governmental purpose. Even in a democratic society, it is the obvious consequence of power that one group will try to shift its burden to others. The notion of equality finds that outcome repugnant.
The Court must limit this government action that aims oppressive measures at working class taxpayers while giving unwarranted privileges to mining corporations. 
The Constitutional Court must review this tax legislation to reflect taxation's
importance as a most efficient engine for desperately needed social change in the quality of life of the Zambian people. 
The acquisitive nature of man even permeates the struggle over the fair allocation of the burden of taxation on the citizens of a country.
The deductibility of mineral royalty tax tends to introduce inequality in the burdens of taxation; and this is a cause which is not arising from any consideration of the public good whatever, but from the inherent selfishness of men.
In every nation those who feel the burdens of taxation are naturally prone to relieve themselves from them if they can; and the extent of the effort which they make to relieve themselves is, in general, proportionate to the extent of the burden which they suppose has been laid upon them. One class struggles to throw the burden off its own shoulders. If they succeed, of course it must fall upon others. They also, in their turn, labor to get rid of it, and finally the load falls upon those who will not, or cannot, make a successful effort for relief. This is, in general, a one-sided struggle, in which the rich only engage, and it is a struggle in which the poor always go to the wall.


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Signatures: 108Next Goal: 200
Support now