Q&A – 16 April 2012

Overtaxed by second employer

I have two employments and each company knows that I have two jobs although I meant to keep the latest job a secret. However when I received my first salary from the second job a month ago, it appeared that my second employer has charged a tax rate of 30% of my salary while the tax payable is about 19% only. Is it right for this additional tax burden on me? Hasn’t the employer and TRA stolen from me? There is some conspiracy between my employer and TRA.
ER, Dar

Neither TRA nor your second employer stole from you but rather the law entitles your employer to charge you as it did. The Income Tax regulations (Government Notice No. 464 published on 5 November 2004) regulation 18, states that when an employee has more than one employer, he or she is under obligation to choose among the employers who will be his or her primary employer and the other who will be the secondary employer. The primary employer will deduct income tax as per the normal rates provided under the Income Tax Act. The secondary employer is obligated to deduct the employee’s salary at the highest rate stipulated in the Income Tax Act which is 30%.

You should also note that under the Income Tax Act, it is an offence not to disclose your two jobs to both your primary and secondary employers and if convicted you will be liable to pay a fine.

However, you can apply to the Commissioner General of TRA for reduction of the rate because the law allows him to reduce the said rate if he is satisfied that the said deduction causes you hardship.

Your conspiracy theory between your employer and TRA is too far-fetched.

Civil imprisonment

A friend of mine borrowed money but never repaid me despite numerous efforts to recover the same. I sued him in Court where he admitted that he is indebted to me and judgment was entered against him. It has been almost a year since the judgment and not a penny has been paid to me. This is really frustrating as it is not that he does not have the money but rather that he is stingy and selfish. Can he be sentenced to jail as a civil imprisoner?
WP, Dar

If you have not already done so, you must first obtain a Court decree to enforce the decision of the Court. The decree is made out of the judgment that you have. You can then make an application in Court for execution of a decree of payment of money by arrest and detention as a civil prisoner. You should note that the Court is not obligated to issue the warrant of arrest; it can choose to call the judgment debtor to appear before the Court and provide reasons as to why he should not be committed as a civil prisoner. If the Court is satisfied that the judgment debtor has no intention to pay especially if he has the means, it will issue an arrest warrant and the judgment debtor will be detained in prison as a civil prisoner.

During his civil imprisonment, you will be required to deposit monthly allowance for his upkeep in prison. The said maintenance allowance must be deposited at the beginning of every month until the judgment debtor is released from prison or until he pays the loan. The costs you incur in such allowance can also be recovered from the judgment debtor.

Place for burial

As time goes on costs of getting a place for burying human remains of a deceased person in the City cemeteries are increasingly going up. Who owns these cemeteries? Is an individual allowed to have his own cemetery for commercial purposes? I want to start a private cemetery whereby the deceased family would pay rental every year, which would cover all upkeep of the cemetery.
RL, Dar

Under the local Government (Urban Authorities) (Development Control ) Regulations ,2008 made under the Local Government ( Urban Authorities )Act the only authority to appoint or set aside areas as cemeteries is the township , municipal council or City council concerned as the case may be . The authority is the owner of the cemeteries and therefore it is the one that determines charges for services available under these cemeteries. Under the said regulations, no corpse of any person is allowed to be buried at any place other than such cemetery, unless the authority gives special permission. This means all human remains of a deceased person should be buried in appointed cemeteries.

The Law is silent as to whether an individual can own his or her own cemetery for commercial purposes. However since it is possible for a particular religious community to have its own cemetery, we do not see why a private cemetery would not be allowed as long as the location of such cemetery is in conformity with the development controls plans of that particular township. We advise you to contact the municipal authorities for more clarifications and further guidance.

Your yearly rental charge aspect is very interesting. What you seem to be proposing is a contract that you would enter with the deceased’s family where you would get paid a fixed amount every year, something equal to a rental for the deceased to remain in the cemetery. We wonder what you would do if there was non-payment of such fixed amount- surely you will not be able to unearth the dead body, as you would be in breach of the law. Do look at your business plan from this angle prior to commencement.