Taxman eyes P41bn inflows for 2019


Tighter collections and stronger support to the economy due to higher government spending, are expected to help the taxman rake in up to P41 billion in the coming financial year, BusinessWeek has learnt.

The target is about four percent, or P1.4 billion higher than the estimates of what the Botswana Unified Revenue Service (BURS) is expected to have collected when the current financial year ends on March 31.  The draft estimates are contained in a brief from the Finance Ministry circulated this week as part of the budget approval process by the National Assembly.

According to the draft, income tax collections are expected to increase by about P1.1 billion in the coming year to P17.9 billion, while Value Added Tax should rise by P660 million to P9 billion.

That figure is marginally down from the P9.2 billion cited by Finance Minister, Kenneth Matambo in his recent budget speech.

While SACU revenues are expected to fall by P444 million to P14 billion, the total inflows to the taxman are robust, particularly when compared to the last verified collections of P39.4 billion for the financial year 2017/18. In his budget speech, Matambo said more emphasis would be placed on widening the tax base and improving collections. The Finance Minister said the P1.1 billion budget deficit for the 2017/18 financial year was due to poor tax collection.

“Efforts will therefore, be intensified to ensure efficiency in the collection of tax revenues by BURS through the continuous review of tax laws and leveraging on the use of ICT to enhance compliance,” he said.

“For government to achieve its development goals, it is necessary to mobilise domestic resources.

“To this end, efforts will continue to be made to expand our tax base through review of tax legislation and regulations, to enable the revenue authority to effectively discharge its mandate. “It is for this reason that focusing on simplifying the tax legislation continues to be a priority as a way of enhancing tax compliance, while at the same time, reducing the cost of tax administration.”

Alongside the tax initiatives, government has also tightened loopholes exploited by illicit financial flows such as tax evasion, abuse of transfer pricing, trade misinvoicing and money laundering. Global Financial Integrity (GFI) the world’s foremost authority on illicit financial flows, estimates that Botswana could be losing up to P10 billion annually.

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