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Taxpayers owe N$36 billion in penalties

2021-10-07  Maihapa Ndjavera

Taxpayers owe N$36 billion in penalties
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Namibian taxpayers owe an astounding N$36 billion in penalties to the Namibia Revenue Authority (NamRA) as at 30 September 2021. About 117 600 taxpayers were penalised for late submission and payments.

Head of Domestic Taxes at NamRA, Idi Itope, on Tuesday revealed this astronomical figure during a media engagement. As at 30 September 2021, N$12 billion is owed in capital by 107 200 taxpayers. Itope emphasised that capital can never be written off, and is owed until it’s paid.

“If you do not pay on time, you are charged interest, and this interest debt stands at N$8 billion involving 137 000 taxpayers,” explained Itope during a NamRA presentation.

Namibia has about 887 500 registered taxpayers, of whom only 57% have submitted their tax forms and have paid all their taxes, while 43% are considered as non-compliant as per the current statistics. Itope said the authority will go after all non-compliant taxpayers.

“Not complying is more costly than complying. If you fail to comply, you risk forfeiting your pension fund and some other benefits that would require you to prove that you are in good standing with NamRa. We are running an electronic filing tax relief programme to try and increase the compliance rate, and for people to embrace technology”, he warned.

Itope stated that there is a reward for people who use the ITAS portal, and to attract people to comply with tax commitments, the authority’s relief programme will run until 31 January 2022. 

“Register as an e-filer, submit tax returns on the portal. As a reward, all penalties will be automatically reversed, 75% of interest will be written off once the capital amount is settled by 31 January 2022, and taxpayers can settle outstanding balances in instalments and complete by January 2022,’’ he urged.

He noted that the desired results are to promote voluntary compliance, raise awareness, and make it convenient for all taxpayers to comply as well as to tackle prevalent tax avoidance and evasion.

According to him, an efficient NamRa is a key determinant of a conducive investment climate, contributes to tax morale and helps to grow the economy. 

At the same occasion, NamRA Commissioner Sam Shivute said 47% of the revenue target was achieved by the end of August 2021. 

He said net collections for NamRA from April to August 2021 amount to N$23 billion of the total revenue target of N$48.8 billion for the financial year 2021/2022.

“Based on the revenue performance reports thus far, we are confident of meeting the target. NamRA was created to improve service delivery, and we exist to produce results,” he stated. 

NamRA has a great role to play in enabling government to foster economic recovery, sustainable growth and social development for the best interest of all Namibians. “Our mandate is to mobilise revenue to enable the State to provide dignified standards of living for all our people”, Shivute added.

When asked whether NamRa considers taxing the informal sector, Itope responded that the informal sector is a major contributor to Namibia’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP). If they are untaxed, government will thus forfeit a significant portion of revenue that could be collected. 

“Their revenue is so high, and it goes undetected. NamRa is going to tax the informal sector. The law, as it stands, provides for a threshold,” he explained. 

- mndjavera@nepc.com.na


2021-10-07  Maihapa Ndjavera

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