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North owes taxman N$9.3 billion

2023-08-30  Max Heinrich

North owes taxman N$9.3 billion

ONGWEDIVA -  Five northern regions – Oshana, Oshikoto, Ohangwena, Omusati and Kunene north – owe the taxman a cumulative N$9.3 billion, the Namibia Revenue Agency revealed. 

According to NamRA, a total 35 031 debtors owe them that much. 

The huge debt is made up of capital, penalties and interests, with capital debt standing at 23% [or N$1.55 billion]. 

In penalties, the so-called Northern-O regions plus part of Kunene’s capital debt is a staggering N$5.24 billion while the interest debt is N$1.9 billion, details further show.

The information was released during a NamRA stakeholder engagement session at the annual Ongwediva fair on Monday. 

NamRA’s northern region domestic taxes manager Willem Janzer delved into the figures. 

“Many taxpayers are declaring and submitting zero returns. [But] some of them are even getting government tenders and what they are submitting to NamRA is zero returns. How can someone that earns an income tell NamRA that ‘I did not make any money or that I did not make any trade?’ We encourage taxpayers to revise their returns and get the right amount of turnovers. Do not think we will not get hold of you. You should come forth yourself,” Janzer pleaded. 

Over the years, despite the booming business enterprise of the north, it has not trickled down to the State’s purse. 

During the 2022/23 financial year, for instance, the Northern-O regions [Oshikoto, Oshana, Omusati and Ohangwena], with 109 083 taxpayers, only contributed N$722 million to NamRA’s coffers. 

In the preceding financial year, only N$1.5 billion was collected from that pool. It raised eyebrows. 

Asked if NamRA could project how much it is owed in taxes by the northern regions in their total, by existing and unregistered taxpayers, the revenue collector said it was difficult to say.

“Our projections are limited to the number of registered taxpayers. We would agree that there are people [and businesses] outside the tax net. There is a high level of non-compliance. Our projections are limited to the total N$72 billion owed, of which the north accounts for N$9.3 billion,” NamRA’s spokesperson, Yarukeekuro Ndorokaze said when quizzed yesterday.

He further encouraged taxpayers to register for the integrated tax administration system (ITAS). 

This, he said, will enable them to enjoy the benefit of submitting their returns and checking taxed balances, from the comfort of their homes.

“The outstanding balances, the N$9.3 billion, we now have a tax amnesty programme for outstanding taxpayers that started in April and will run till November 2023. Taxpayers can only take part in this programme when they settle all outstanding taxes, capital portions and have updated their returns,” said Janzer.

Meanwhile, northern region Customs and Excise department manager, Susan Beukes highlighted that imported goods must comply with prescribed customs clearance formalities.

“When it comes to importing second-hand clothing, the bales become a massive challenge. It is important to have an import permit, unfortunately second hand shoes and underwear is not permitted due to health regulations. We will seize it and destroy it in the presence of the ministry of health,” said Beukes.

She added that NamRA is neither confiscating products and refusing cross-border trade, but due processes must be followed to the letter. 

She stressed that some of the products crossing the into Namibia must be of a quantity for own use, otherwise, it will be subjected to requisite taxation.

More so, she said those importing restricted goods must have permits to import such goods, while “prohibited goods are protected and cannot be export or traded due to regulations”.

“Import and export is allowed for restricted good when a licence or permit is provided, but failure to provide a permit, goods will be detained for a maximum of 14 days,” warned Beukes.

2023-08-30  Max Heinrich

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