Zwai Bala admits that his R3 million tax bill has changed the way he spends his money.
Zwai, along with his TKZee bandmates Tokollo Tshabalala and Kabelo Mabalane, found themselves in trouble with the tax man in 2006.
At the time, the revenue service said the group failed to pay taxes between 1999 and 2005 after receiving money from Sony BMG Music Entertainment, the SA Music Rights Organisation and Electro Mode Music South Africa.
Speaking to Drum he said: “They let us just slide and make the money and then they came into our accounts and checked on the amount of money that had gone in or through the accounts and then they charged us for income tax.”
The other problem for the members of the group is that they never submitted tax returns, something Zwai admits they should have been smarter about.
“I had to prove to them after this that no ever money that went through my account was for personal use. As a musician, I do not use all the money for myself. I have to travel around…so I had to justify that not everything that went in was for personal use.”
As a solo artist now, the 42-year-old admits it has taught him to be smarter with how he handles money.
“I learnt the importance of paper trail and documentations in regards to invoices. Now with the work that I do with Artistic Practitioners, I always tell the artists who work with me that I can’t pay you until you submit an invoice.”
Having been casual about the money that went into his account when he was in his youth, Zwai has urged young artists to learn lessons from his mistakes.
He is keen to see them avoid the scenario of other musicians who often end up penniless when they die.
“We don’t think beyond these notes, which is Micky Mouse. We need to think beyond the notes and the glam,” he pleads. “There are people with nice voices all the time but you need to know how to make money. You need to have a plan.
A lot of youngsters want to make and album, want to be on TV but they haven’t accounted for anything. They wait for the calls and when they get that big gig they can’t manage it. They can’t manage growth and they can’t manage success. They are not prepared for it and therefore they can’t make the most of it.”