The Namibian Employers’ Federation (NEF) yesterday said the Integrated Tax Administration System (ITAS) portal lacked guidelines for employers, which makes the system particularly unfriendly for users. The NEF, which is the largest and oldest employers’ organisation in the country, also said the deadline extension was necessary based on the needs of employers as many had difficulty with the ITAS portal.
According to NEF Secretary General, Daan Strauss, a recent federation survey indicated that 78% of respondents cited various challenges on the ITAS portal while 81% agreed that the tax deadline should be extended. In addition, the survey results show that 68% of employers were in favour of reverting to a manual process instead of the electronic submissions. Strauss however pointed out that the survey was conducted before the official announcement of the deadline extension.
The NEF has an estimated direct corporate membership of 500 (2019) and in total represents the interests of over 5 000 various employers through its associational members.
Ministry of Finance figures show that over 10 500 Namibian companies have not yet submitted spreadsheets on the ITAS portal.
Said finance ministry spokesperson, Tonateni Shidhudhu: “Despite our vigorous campaigns to educate employers on how to submit the EXT (employee tax) returns, this remains a challenge.”
He added that the ministry is conducting training for those companies as taxpayers.
“Our target is to ensure that these companies submit their returns by end of November and the remaining months will be just for cleaning up. It is a serious project that we are embarking on as from now, targeting big institutions that are still struggling,” said Shidhudhu.
The finance ministry this week confirmed that the annual individual income tax returns deadline, which was initially extended to 30 September 2020, has been further extended to 1 March 2021. According to a ministerial statement the extension is necessary to allow more time for employers who did not submit their employee tax returns (ETX template/excel sheet) on the ITAS portal. “The ministry would like to reiterate that online submission of ETX excel sheet is a prerequisite, before annual individual income tax returns are filed. Information disclosed or declared in individual tax returns is validated against the information submitted by the employers, hence assessments for employees can only be finalised provided their respective employers have submitted monthly employee tax returns excel spread sheets,” read a ministerial statement. online.
The ministry also advised employers to ensure that PAYE 5 certificates are an exact reflection of their monthly ETX submissions for the particular tax year for the purpose of accurate filing and reporting.