TANZANIA: THE NATIONAL PAYMENT SYSTEMS (ELECTRONIC MONEY TRANSACTION LEVY) REGULATIONS, 2022

By Imani Mselle,Fabiola Ssebuyoya,Charles Mmasi Monday, August 22, 2022
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In July 2021, the Tanzanian Government introduced a new levy on mobile money transfer transactions namely the ‘money transfer levy’ in a bid to broaden the tax base and increase its revenue collection.

This measure was implemented through an amendment to the National Payment Systems Act (Cap 437) (Act) and the issuing of the National Payment Systems (Electronic Mobile Money Transfer and Withdrawal Transactions Levy) Regulations, 2021. These regulations were subsequently amended on 31 August 2021 through the National Payment Systems (Electronic Mobile Money Transfer and Withdrawal Transactions Levy) (Amendment) Regulations, 2021 (together the 2021 Regulations). The August 2021 amendments reduced the rates imposed as levy but made no other material adjustments.

In July 2022, the Government published the National Payment Systems (Electronic Money Transaction Levy) Regulations, 2022 (2022 Regulations). Key highlights of the 2022 Regulations are as follows.

Definitions 

Regulation 3 of the 2022 Regulations introduce the following new definitions:

  • Business - an undertaking by a person contracted by a collector for the collection or disbursement of payments or float distribution services.
  • Electronic Money Transaction - a transaction that enables a user to transfer or withdraw money electronically.
  • Levy - a levy on electronic money transactions established under section 46A of the Act.
  • Merchant - a special account designated by a collector and operated by a person through which payment is received from a user for the sale of goods or services.
  • Transfer - the transfer of electronic money from:
    - a user’s mobile money account to a user’s mobile money account;
    - a user’s mobile money account to a user’s bank account;
    - a user’s bank account to a user’s bank account; or
    - a user’s bank account to a user’s mobile money account.
  • User - a person who transfers or withdraws money electronically or over the counter other than the Government, a merchant or a business.
  • Withdrawal - withdrawal of cash from a user’s mobile money account or bank account at a collector, collector’s agent or automated teller machine.

The scope of the 2021 Regulations covered transactions involving electronic transfer and withdrawal through mobile money payment systems licencees under the Act. In contrast, the 2022 Regulations, specifically the definition of the term ‘transfer’, have broadened the scope of transactions covered by the levy to include in essence all electronic money transactions by individual users such as bank to bank transfers, bank to mobile wallet transfers and vice versa. Further, the transactions that will attract this levy have been expanded by the 2022 Regulations to include withdrawals though automated teller machines (ATMs).

The 2022 Regulations also provide a list of users who are excluded from the scope of the Levy. These include the Government, businesses and merchants. Meaning banking and mobile money service agents are exempt from the Levy and merchants who setup special accounts designated for receiving payments for goods and services are excluded from the scope of Levy.

This is a welcome move as it continues to enable the transition to cashless transactions by keeping electronic transaction costs low for GEPG payments, and for businesses and merchants who have begun widely accepting mobile money payments in urban areas.

Other changes

Other changes introduced by the 2022 Regulations include the following:

  • The 2022 Regulations have reduced the Levy amount from between TZS 10 to TZS 10,000 to between TZS 10 and TZS 4,000 depending on the transaction value.
  • Regulation 7(2) of the 2022 Regulations requires Mainland Tanzania collectors to remit the Levy to the Zanzibar Revenue Board (ZRB) within seven days of the month following the month to which the Levy relates, to the extent that the electronic money transaction is made in Tanzania Zanzibar. Previously, all payments relating to the Levy were paid to the Tanzania Revenue Authority for subsequent deposit into the consolidated fund. The provisions in respect of filing of returns have not been amended to align with this requirement to pay the Levy to the ZRB. Therefore it remains unclear as to whether collectors will also be required to file returns in Zanzibar in support of the payments made to the ZRB.    

Exemption

The Act has also been amended to exempt transactions involving the payment of salaries by employers from electronic money transactions levy