Following the recent gazetting of new passport fees in December 2019, the government is contemplating introducing a Diaspora tax to shore up its dwindling revenues. For some time now the government has been trying to find ways to leverage the financial muscle of millions of Zimbabweans scattered across the world.
One official who spoke on condition of anonymity said plans are underway to marry the issuance of documents to taxation. A law is apparently being drafted that will compel Zimbabweans who want to maintain good-standing to declare their earnings and pay their fair share of taxes.
Under the proposed law, tax evasion will be considered a serious crime that could include jail time. Any person who applies for a passport at the embassy or consulate would first need to provide proof of up-to-date tax payments.
While this might be viewed negatively by most people in the Diaspora, if implemented Zimbabwe will not be the first country to require payment of taxes by non-resident citizens. USA for examples taxes its citizens no matter where they are. Issues that may arise include double taxation.
When asked for a response one Zimbabwean in UK said the idea if ok only if the people are accorded the same electoral rights as those in Zimbabwe like Diaspora voting.
It is unknown when the law will be presented to parliament but the Finance ministry is eager to get the legal framework in place.