This is against target of P2.5 billion tax arrears
BURS decries low interest on tax amnesty scheme
Commissioner General warns of penalties in 2022
Botswana Revenue Services (BURS) Commissioner General Jeanette Makgolo says the tax amnesty scheme, which elapses end of this month, has only collected P64 million from the massive P2.5 billion tax arrears owed by Batswana to the revenue services.
Makgolo said only 10 percent of individual Batswana and businesses who owe taxes have paid up. According to her, the low turnout is very worrisome as the remaining 90% means that there is still a lot of money that has not been paid.
“I therefore plead with those taxpayers who have not yet taken advantage of the scheme to do so at the earliest opportunity. To that extent, BURS is amenable to taxpayers making payment plans. I must however remind those that enter into payment plans that they can only enjoy the scheme if they have fully paid their principal liabilities before the end of the scheme,” stressed Makgolo.
She said as the tax amnesty scheme elapses on 31st December 2021, this means that BURS will effect more penalties and additional interests on those who owe tax come January 2022.
“The last time we have tax amnesty scheme was in 1999. We still have people who owe BURS taxes from as far as 2000 and some of them haven’t risen to the occasion to take advantage of the tax scheme,” she said.
BURS Commissioner General also said the revenue service contributed 22% to the GDP in 2020.
Commenting in her roadmap, Makgolo said her key priority is to reshape the BURS strategy.
She said the strategy will consider key priority areas of revamping the BURS Information and Communication Technology (ICT) systems, adding that currently they are frustrating tax payers.
Makgolo stated that revenue system is data driven; hence it is important to have an effective ICT function.
“Furthermore, one other key area of my focus is organisational structure. It will entail restructuring to guide me to achieve my targets. BURS is an organisation with a knowledgeable team and will tap into it to unlock the potential of BURS. We will focus on what was not going well and provide solutions,” said the newly appointed BURS Commissioner General.
Meanwhile, the Commissioner of Domestic Taxes Tutu Bakwena has said revenue collection agency intends to collect about P40.6 billion revenue in the 2022/23 financial year.
He, however, said the forecast figure on tax collection can change given the circumstances such as the local current economic climate which has been subdued by the Covid-19 pandemic.
According to Bakwena, the Covid-19 pandemic is financially biting all people and sectors equally.
In 2020, BURS exceeded the target by collecting P40 billion against the initial target of P37 billion.
BURS expects to boost revenue collection and service delivery with the expansion of Lobatse’s Pioneer Border Post which is getting a mega facelift that includes the erection of a classic One Stop Border Post Service at a tune of P500 million.
The local revenue service has earmarked Pioneer Border Post as one of the strategic entry points that has potential to unlock growth for revenue generation.
The border expansion, which is divided into two (2) phases, will be completed in September 2023. The Kazungula One Stop Border Post is now fully operational and through it BURS anticipates it to boost the tax revenue.