Finance Minister Calle Schlettwein has applauded members of the northern business community for their commitment towards settling their tax arrears.
Speaking during 2018/19 budget review held between his ministry and members of the Namibia Chamber of Commerce and Industry (NCCI) Northern Branch at Ongwediva, Schlettwein said the northern business community is second in paying taxes, following the Khomas Region in first place.
This follows the ministry’s offer of a relief to taxpayers who settle outstanding balances by waiving all penalties and writing off 70 percent of interest during the 2017/18 financial year.
All taxpayers qualify to participate in that incentive programme, which been extended to April 3 this year, provided the capital tax and 30 percent of the interest are settled.
Schlettwein pointed out that the ministry has collected N$1.1 billion in taxes so far during the incentive drive, while N$3 billion is still to be recovered.
“We have to assess what steps to take to ensure these debts are collected, but we do not want to create another situation of arrears. The ministry is currently working to come up with a better plan on how to avoid a similar situation in future,” stated Schlettwein
He added that the ministry is also planning to come up with an e-tax payment platform allowing taxpayers to fill in their tax returns via the Internet, while sitting at home, instead of travelling to revenue offices to file their returns.
“The e-tax payment platform will, on the other hand, help to reduce corrupt practices, fraud and will facilitate a much better tax payments database,” he added.
Attending the review, one of the audience members, Josua Haimbodi, told Schlettwein that the northern business community wants the finance ministry to play a more significant role in educating people on the importance of businesses paying taxes.
“Paying of taxes is the way to grow our economy and some people still don’t know it’s importance,” Haimbodi emphasised.