…In bid to recoup N$4b
By Confidente Reporter
IN a bid to recover N$4 billion in outstanding taxes, Government through the Ministry of Finance might resort to go the legal way of attaching assets or enforcing garnishment orders on defaulters, Confidente can exclusively reveal.
Finance Permanent Secretary, Ericah Shafudah in an interview with Confidente Tuesday emphasised that Government will only go the legal route if defaulters don’t take advantage of the Incentive Programme for Outstanding Tax. Government’s plan to at least harness outviduals and entities in arrears to cope with standing principal tax and 20 percent of interest in the next six months.
In this exercise Government has opted to forfeit up to N$15 billion in tax interest and penalties incurred since independence in 1990. The exercise applies to taxes administered by the Inland Revenue Department: Value Added Tax, Employees Tax, VAT Tax, Income Tax, Stamp Duty and Non-resident Shareholders Tax.
“The section dealing with this matter will simply quote the Income Tax Act to tell people that there were procedures and letters of demand given to settle the tax debt and because that time lapsed and individuals continued to zigzag, we then find out if they have an account with any bank. That bank will then be appointed as an agent and it will deduct money before individuals can get to it.
“The other option is to attach assets where the Attorney General will be involved. We will establish what assets individuals and entities have, attach them and retrieve what is owed to revenue,” Shafudah said.
While acknowledging that individuals and entities might have difficulties in honouring their tax debts, Shafudah advised defaulters to take advantage of the relief programme adding that they are only expected to foot the principal N$4 billion debt, 20 percent interest and have 80 percent penalties written off.
“Make use of the incentive programme to avoid a situation where assets are attached and garnishment orders released for the receiver to recover what is owed to the state,” Shafudah said.
Government late last year also announced that it would write-off the interest and waiver 80 percent of the penalties if those indebted pay the principal debt and defaulters have between February and July to apply after determining how much they owe and filling all outstanding tax returns.
At the time, Finance Minister Calle Schlettwein said that payments can be made in instalments over a maximum period of six months adding the last instalment must be made on July 31. Schlettwein also said that penalties and interest paid prior to the effective date of the programme are not refundable while taxpayers currently on a deferred payment plan can still apply to participate in the tax programme.
Schlettwein however said that arrear tax amounts relating to pending cases of fraud, illicit tax practices and corruption are not eligible for the programme.
“Taxpayers who fail to apply to the finance ministry to have a portion of the interest written off during the period allocated will forfeit this benefit when the incentive programme lapses,” he said adding the ministry will then enforce its collection mandate against taxpayers with outstanding balances on their tax accounts as if the programme was never introduced. Application forms for the incentive programme are available at regional revenue offices countrywide and must b`e completed and submitted to the nearest receiver of revenue office.
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