Namibian sport stars to start paying tax

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Michael Uugwanga

Windhoek - The Namibian Ministry of Finance is working on a proposal for new legislation that once enacted will compel professional athletes and musicians to declare their foreign earnings.

This was after the Minister of Finance, Calle Schletwein, during the tabling of the 2019/2020 national budget last week Wednesday, 27 March, said all foreign earnings would need to be declared.

This means that Namibian footballers and rugby players who are playing professional sport outside Namibia will have to declare their earning as a new initiative for government to tax them. 
However, such law will need support from lawmakers for it to be effective as from next year’s national budget tabling.

In an interview with The Southern Times this week, Justus Mwafongwe, Commissioner for Inland Revenue said government feels that there are some individuals who make lots of money outside the country yet they do not pay tax.

Mwafongwe said the declaration of foreign-earned income would apply to all Namibians.

“Please note that taxation of foreign earned income is being proposed together with other tax amendment proposals as announced in the budget speech. There is no law in place yet except the current deeming provisions where certain foreign income is subject to taxation.

“After legislating this proposal, taxpayers will be required to declare all foreign-earned income subject to any exemption.

“Declaration of foreign income will come into effect from the date the law is enacted in accordance with its implementing provisions. Taxation of foreign earned income will be applicable to all Namibian residents including athletes and musicians. The declaration will be done on an annual basis and two provisional payments,” Mwafongwe said.

Asked when the move will become effective, Mwafongwe said it is likely to start next year.

In most parts of the world, such as in Europe, footballers are obliged to pay tax and, according to reports, some of the world’s top footballers, such as Lionel Messi of Barcelona and Christiano Ronaldo of Juventus, have been found guilty of failing to declare money they earn abroad, through image rights.

“Chances are that this law will become operational as from the 2020 tax year. Logic is to tax residents on their worldwide income, as opposed to taxing only income from the source. This is an international trend,” Mwafongwe said. 

 

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