Q&A – 24 June 2019

TRA right to enter dwelling house

Does the TRA have the right to enter a dwelling house of a taxpayer? Is there a procedure to follow and what are my rights?
FG, Dar

Under the Tax Administration Act (TAA), TRA has wide powers to search properties of taxpayers, including dwelling houses. Regulation 88 of the TAA Regulations states that where a distraint agent takes possession of charged assets under the instruction and in the presence of the distraint officer, the agent shall: prepare an inventory of the assets; provide the tax debtor with a receipt for the goods and a copy of the inventory; provide for safe custody of the assets, including in the case of livestock, transport and feeding; and forward to the Commissioner General a report containing the value of each asset as estimated by the officer, in the case of moveable tangible assets, the address at which the assets are kept pending sale; and the arrangements, if any, made or to be made for the sale of the assets.

Forfeiture of corruption proceeds

Is there a law in Tanzania whereby corruption proceeds can be forfeited by the PCCB? What is the procedure?
TU, Dar

The answer to your question is yes. The Prevention and Combating of Corruption Act provides in section 40 (1) that the Bureau may, in collaboration with the office of the Director of Public Prosecutions recover proceeds of corruption through confiscation to the Government. (2) Where a person is convicted of an offence of corruption under this Act, the Director of Public Prosecutions may, apply to the convicting court or to any other appropriate court not later than six months after conviction of the person for forfeiture order against any property that was obtained through corruption. (3) For the purpose of this part, “proceeds of corruption” means any property that is derived or obtained by a person from the commission of corruption offences.

It must be noted that the forfeiture is not automatic and must be sanctioned by the Court. This Act further states that should a forfeiture order be made, all such property shall vest in the United Republic.

Knowledge of existence of Will

I have made a Will and want to know whether there is an automatic way for the beneficiaries to be informed that they are beneficiaries after my death. I also wish to know how my executor will know that I have appointed him as my executor. I do not want the contents of my Will to leak out to anyone including my wife and any other beneficiaries. Is there a particular place that I can use to store my Will?
DL, Dar

Neither your beneficiaries nor executor(s) will know that they are mentioned in your Will if you do not inform them. It is as simple as that. There is no authority that informs them automatically. Our first suggestion is for you to make sure that you ask the executor if he is agreeable to act as the executor.

It is wise to also appoint an alternate executor should the first executor fail to act for some reason. Make sure you also inform this alternate executor. Most people forget to appoint an alternate executor. Secondly, you should make sure that the executor and/or the beneficiaries or someone very trustworthy knows where the Will is stored. The facility you use should only release the Will upon your demise. Some people store their Wills at home.

Others store them in bank vaults with instructions to their bankers to release it to particular people upon ones demise. Others use Will storage facilities. We are not aware of specific Will storage facilities in Tanzania but there are many such facilities outside the country.

Spouse trespassing on my property

I was married for nearly 10 years before I left my wife as life was hell with her around me. I left her and the children in my house whose right of occupancy is in my name. We have been separated but not divorced and I need her to vacate my house as I am in need of funds and wish to rent it out. I politely asked her to leave because she is trespassing on my property but she has refused. I want to take legal action against her. Can I evict her by force?
OO, Moshi

The Law of Marriage Act of Tanzania states that where any estate or interest in the matrimonial home is owned by the husband or by the wife and that husband or wife, deserts his or her spouse, the deserted spouse shall not be liable to be evicted from the matrimonial home by or at the instance of the husband or the wife who left. You can see from the above that the law is strict and you cannot evict your wife. Further to that, you are not divorced and in the eyes of the law you are still husband and wife; the house is hence still regarded as a matrimonial home and she has a right to live there. The division of matrimonial properties can be done if either of you petition for divorce.

However, be advised that even though the house is in your name, there is no guarantee that you will retain it in its entirety as under the law the wife is deemed to contribute in building of the matrimonial home simply by doing domestic chores and entitled to a certain percentage of the house. Also looking at this from the Court’s perspective, your wife is taking care of your children and it is very unlikely that the Court will sympathise with you.

Your situation is quite delicate and you need to consult your attorney.