Issues and Problems Associated with Value Added Registration: Practice Oriented Analysis

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Addis Ababa University


The administration of Value Added Tax (VAT) necessitates identification of taxable persons. Countries execute this duty through a method of registration. Any country which has accepted the VAT system should put in place institutional and legal frameworks which are instruments for the registration of taxable persons. In addition to organizing such institutional and legal frame works, countries should also establish systems which ensure the proper implementation of such laws by the concerned governmental bodies. Moreover, they should have also a system which evaluates the performance of the institutions and revising laws dealing with VAT registration. Ethiopia introduced the VAT system by enacting proclamation No 285/2002 in 2002. This proclamation has incorporated provisions which regulate the registration process of taxable persons and other administrative aspects of VAT. Like the laws of other countries, it has also put in place institutions which carry out the registration process. Moreover it has empowered the Ministry of Finance and Economic Cooperation (MoFEC) and the Ethiopian Revenues and Customs Authority (ERCA) to make directives pertaining to VAT registration when the need arises. The primary objective of this research was to scrutinize the practical implementation of the VAT law provisions dealing with VAT registration and cancelation and examining practical problems associated with registration. In addition, it tried to look into treatment of grievances related to registration and cancellation. Furthermore attempt was made to evaluate the directive making process of (MoFEC) and (ERCA) whether it adheres to the principle of legality or not. In the process of doing this research, the researcher realized the existence of many practical and legal gaps related to VAT registration. Besides the existence of such practical and legal gaps, the writer of this paper has identified that the approach followed by ERCA in the process of registering the taxable person is against the principle of legality. The research work concludes that the existing legal and practical gaps are critical which can militate against the tax policy of Ethiopia in general and the rationale behind VAT registration in particular. So, the researcher strictly recommends that the reexamination of the law and the institutional frame work of Ethiopia is very much necessary.