The Botswana Unified Revenue Service has so far collected P38.5 billion in various taxes this financial year, setting it on course to reach the P40 billion target set by government, BusinessWeek can reveal.
The tax agency had initially set a target of P43 billion for the 2020-2021 financial year, but this was revised looking at the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the economy.
BURS Commissioner-General Jeanette Makgolo told BusinessWeek that collections were proceeding well for the year.
“Considering the prevailing economic circumstances, we are actually not doing badly in terms of tax collections for the current financial year,” she said, on the sidelines of a recent briefing.
Analysts had predicted that the higher collections in the 2020-2021 financial years were helped by the increase in Value Added Tax and Withholding Tax, tighter collections and the BURS pursuing revenues from previously under-monitored sectors, including the second-hand import vehicle sector.
As of September this year, the BURS had collected P65 million from pre-owned vehicle importers who were dodging their tax liabilities through methods such as underpricing the value of the cars. The tax agency launched a crackdown on the second-hand vehicle imports industry last year where investigators raided and closed some dealerships.
Meanwhile, Makgolo said the BURS expects to rake in P41.97 billion across the various tax lines it collects on behalf of government for the 2022-2023 financial year.
The targets are normally informed by the macroeconomic fiscal frameworks produced by the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development. The ministry applies various tools to forecast how much tax the agency is likely to collect.
The levels of tax collections are generally indicative of the health of the economy, as well as the BURS’ efforts to pursue taxpayers’ liabilities.