Commissioner General of Botswana Unified Revenue Services (BURS) Jeanette Makgolo has revealed that BURS only managed to collect 32 percent of the principal tax during the tax amnesty which ended on the 30th of June 2022.
Speaking at the official launch of’2022 tax filing season in Francistown on Monday, Makgolo said from the P2.5 billon they had expected they only collected P820 million during the period. She further noted that during the tax amnesty, only 17 883 tax payers came forward from over 22000 that were expected
Makgolo further highlighted that BURS is now more committed to helping Batswana and ensuring that a lot of tax payers come forward to file their taxes, after the realisation that people did not take advantage of last year’s tax amnesty with claims that BURS systems were not up to par. She, however, emphasized that in instances like that tax payers are encouraged to visit BURS offices to get assistance.
She said the tax amnesty that ran from the 1st of July 2021 to end of June this year had accommodated those owing tax to come forward and pay their principle tax and BURS would in turn write off the interests and penalties they had accumulated.
“This was a way of showing Batswana that BURS understands that Covid-19 affected everyone with businesses coming to a halt – not everyone was making an income. We are trying our level best as BURS to ensure that Batswana comply,” she said.
Makgolo said though the tax amnesty had come to an end, individuals who had filed their requests with BURS will be assisted accordingly if they had submitted by 30th June as assessment of applications is still ongoing. She further added that it would likely increase the 32 percent that they currently have on record.
She also emphasized that BURS plays an important role of collecting tax revenues, adding that from the budget speech presented by the finance minister earlier this year, close to 70 percent of the budget has to come from taxes collected through BURS.
“We have to make sure that there are developments in the country. All Batswana benefit from taxes – this is why every eligible person should be responsible enough to play their part and pay their taxes,” she added.
Makgolo explained that it is through the tax filing exercise that both the tax payer and the revenue service can ascertain the true amount of taxes remitted to the revenue service and thus contributing their fair share to the government coffers.
She also emphasized that paying tax has a formula and no one can be cheated of their hard earned money. Makgolo further implored tax payers to utilise the available systems to file their taxes such as the BURS website and mobile app.
“Our aim is to disseminate information, interact with the public at large and assist with tax matters. I therefore implore you to make use of our visit and engage with us optimally.” She said.
Francistown City Mayor Godisang Radisigo said tax related issues need no introduction as it is evident what tax has done and what it can do for the ordinary Motswana, adding that tax revenue is the backbone of the economy because it is through which the government finances its services and developments. He further added that it is through tax that a lot of Batswana have been sent abroad to get an education.
“I and my fellow citizens continue to enjoy subsidised government services as a result of tax. All the developments we see happening such as state of the art infrastructure across the country is due to tax,” he added.
Radisigo implored all eligible tax payers to file theirs taxes between July and September 2022 during the filing season.
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