WINDHOEK - Taxpayers were yesterday informed that all penalties on their tax accounts will be waived as part of an incentive programme to encourage registration as e-filers on the Integrated Tax Administration System (ITAS) and to promote the continuous use of the online service. This was confirmed during a media briefing by finance minister, Calle Schlettwein, who said the ministry’s aim is to reach a target of 90 percent of the taxpayer population as e-filers by June 2020. The incentive programme covers the period since the launch of ITAS and ends on June 30, 2020.
Schlettwein initially announced the incentive programme for using the online tax system during his Mid-Term Budget Review statement last week.
ITAS became operational in January this year with the overall objective to improve service delivery to taxpayers. The system provides many online benefits such as 24/7 real time access to a taxpayer tax account, taxpayer self-service facility, online filing of tax returns, single view of taxpayer’s account and, accelerated processing of tax forms with real-time notification on outcome.
“The Ministry would also like to see a shift from manual interaction between Inland Revenue Department and taxpayers to a continuous use of the online platform. Reaching this target is necessary because the Ministry may in future require taxpayers to file all tax returns electronically without an option of manual filing,” said Schlettwein yesterday.
He explained that in order to qualify for this incentive, a taxpayer must meet certain conditions, including registering on ITAS portal as an e-filer; and updating, through online submission, all tax accounts for all tax types in respect of tax returns that might be outstanding.
“Once the taxpayer has fulfilled the above conditions, penalties charged on any of the tax account will automatically be waived. That means that the taxpayer does not need to make any form of application to have the penalties waived,” Schlettwein explained.
He added that taxpayers who have already registered as e-filers since the launch of ITAS also benefit from this incentive. Penalties for those without outstanding returns will be waived automatically, while those with outstanding returns must first electronically file them in order to qualify for the penalty waiver.
Said Schlettwein: “Updating tax accounts and filing of tax returns through ITAS portal expedites the processing of tax returns and taxpayer audit thereby preventing delays in tax assessments and refunds. It also complements the ministry in its efforts to eliminate current and prevent future backlog in respect of unprocessed tax returns.”
A recent report in New Era indicated that only about 163 300 businesses had registered as taxpayers while just over 21 100 have registered on the ITAS portal, representing a mere 13 percent.
The September report shows that out of 4060 trusts registered as tax payers only 1133 had registered on the ITAS portal. Additionally, out of 230 government institutions a mere 33, or a dismal 14 percent, had registered on the ITAS portal and while close to 545 000 individuals are registered as tax payers only some 84 000 had registered on the ITAS portal. In total, while some 712 522 registered tax payers have been recorded, only 106 259 have registered on the ITAS portal.
2019-11-01 08:41:28 | 21 days ago