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Q&A – 12 June 2017

Civil wedding now, big wedding later

I intend to get married in a civil ceremony now and then have a big wedding later. My to be father in law says this is illegal and that I can only get married once. I also don’t intend to give a wedding ring as I am broke. Again the father in law says that the law says wedding rings are mandatory. Is this true?
YY, Moshi

You are getting married to your other half not to your father in law. Getting married twice would mean that your legal marriage is the first one, and the second is merely ceremonial. You will have been married the first time when you signed on the civil papers. As for the ring, it is not mandatory but merely a tradition. We have not come across any law that says so. Perhaps it is better if your wife takes a call on this and not your father in law. She as well may call off the wedding if you don’t give her a ring – it all depends on her, and not you!

Advance pricing arrangement

To ensure profitability, we have an arrangement with our holding company to provide various services to us. Our tax consultant is unsure about the validity of certain expenditures that we incur in such transactions. Is there a way we can get more certainty on what TRA will allow and what it will not?
GT, Dar

This scenario falls under transfer pricing, whose regulations have been issued last year. The Transfer Pricing Regulations provides for an advance pricing arrangement. Regulation 12 states that a person may request the Commissioner to enter into advance pricing arrangement for establishing an appropriate set of criteria for determining whether the person has complied with the arm’s length principle for certain future controlled transactions undertaken by the person over a fixed period of time.

You can therefore provide TRA with all relevant documents pertaining to this arrangement as provided for under regulation 12(2). Thereafter TRA will either accept the transfer pricing proposal, reject it or modify it. This advance decision allows you more certainty.

Lastly we must mention that the Commissioner may cancel an advance pricing agreement with a person by notice in writing if (1) the person has failed to materially comply with a fundamental term of the agreement; (2) there has been a material breach of one or more of the critical assumptions underlying the agreement; (3) there is a change in the tax law that is materially relevant to the agreement; or (d) the agreement was entered into based on a misrepresentation, mistake, or omission by the parties.

Fat uncle, plane seat small

My uncle is fat and over 190 kgs and is always inconvenienced when he boards an aircraft. He cannot afford flying business class and when he travels economy the seat size is not enough for him. Why don’t the airlines have special seats for fatter people, who are also part of our society. Is this not a form of discrimination? Also, when my uncle walks the aisles of the plane he is forced to brush his body past all those passengers sitting on aisle seats. How can you assist us?
IU, Dar

This is a sensitive topic for many years and the law does not necessarily force airlines to provide special seats for fat passengers. There is also a sensitive balancing act to do for the airlines between those who are normal weight, which is the majority, and the few who are overweight like your uncle.

Airlines have policies on fat people boarding. Some of these policies differ in degree and detail, but essentially if you don’t fit in a seat with an extension seatbelt and the armrest down, you will be charged for two seats or removed from the plane. This is a policy that many airlines have adopted. We are not sure what airline your uncle flew but the terms of carriage always addresses this.

We don’t believe it is discriminatory as if the airlines start offering special seats for fatter passengers, the cost of air travel might end up going up for the other passengers. There is also the issue of security and comfort of passengers seated next to your uncle that need to be taken into account. If someone can hardly fit in a seat, getting that person out of that seat in an emergency is going to be difficult. As for the aisle brushing, most airlines allow early boarding for fatter passengers.

That we believe will solve this problem. Unfortunately there is nothing else that we can help with.

Prospecting licence holder obligations

I applied for and was granted a Prospective Licence (PL) but unfortunately I have not found a partner to develop it. Does that put me in default? Is there no special clause that allows Tanzanians to keep the PLs until I find a partner?
RJ, Mwanza

Any PL holder, notwithstanding that he is a Tanzanian or not is bound by section 36 of the Mining Act 2010 which states the following: (1) The holder of a prospecting licence shall- (a) commence prospecting operations within a period of three months, or such further period as the licensing authority may allow, from the date of the grant of the licence or such other date as is stated in the licence on commencement period; (b) give notice to the licensing authority of the discovery of any mineral deposit of potential commercial value; (c) adhere to the prospecting programme appended to the prospecting licence; and (d) expend on prospecting operations not less than the amount prescribed. (2) A person who- (a) contravenes any provision of subsection (1), shall be in default; (b) makes false statement or presentation to the licensing authority regarding the obligations of the licensee under subsection (1) commits an offence, and on conviction is liable to a fine of not less than twenty million shillings.

If you are in default, your PL can be cancelled as not having found a partner is not a defence for failing to start prospecting operations.

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