Windhoek - Namibia’s Finance Ministry is offering to waive tax penalties for defaulters if they register for the new online system called Integrated Tax Administration System (ITAS).
The overall objective of ITAS is to improve service delivery to taxpayers. The system provides many online benefits such as 24/7 real time access to a taxpayer tax account, taxpayer self-service facility, online filing of tax returns, single view of taxpayer’s account and, accelerated processing of tax forms with real-time notification on outcome.
But it also makes it easier for the Finance Ministry to have a proper broader data base of taxpayers.
The ministry’s aim is to reach a target of 90% of the taxpayer population register as e-filers by June 2020.
The ministry would also like to see a shift from manual interaction between Inland Revenue Department and taxpayers to a continuous use of the online platform.
Reaching this target is necessary because the ministry may in future require taxpayers to file all tax returns electronically without an option of manual filing.
“Against, this background, the ministry is introducing an incentive programme in order to encourage taxpayers not only to register as e-filers but also to continually use the online service.
“Taxpayers are therefore hereby informed that the ministry is offering an incentive in the form of waiving penalties charged on tax accounts. The incentive programme covers the period since the launch of ITAS and ending on 30 June 2020,” said Finance Minister Calle Schlettwein.
He added that once the taxpayer has fulfilled the above conditions, penalties charged on any of the tax account will automatically be waived. That means that the taxpayer does not need to make any form of application to have the penalties waived.
“Taxpayers who have already registered as e-filers since the launch of ITAS also benefit from this incentive. Penalties for those without outstanding returns will be waived automatically, while those with outstanding returns must first electronically file them in order to qualify for the penalty waiver.
“Updating tax accounts and filing of tax returns through ITAS portal expedites the processing of tax returns and taxpayer audit thereby preventing delays in tax assessments and refunds. It also complements the ministry in its efforts to eliminate current and prevent future backlog in respect of unprocessed tax returns,” said Schlettwein.
The ministry urged taxpayers to make use of this opportunity as soon as possible and to contact the nearest tax office for assistance.
Asked if the incentives where just introduced because the ministry was struggling to collect tax at the desired rate, chief public relations officer, Tonateni Shidhudhu, told The Southern Times that in future the aim was to move away from manual filling and move completely online in line with digitalization.