The amount of the alcohol levy collected by Botswana Unified Revenue Service (BURS) has dropped by P19 million, from P486 million recorded in 2018 to P467 in 2019.
This is according to BURS’ latest annual report for 2019 which shows that the alcohol levy accounted for 59.3 percent of total levies collected by the taxman on behalf of government departments and agencies.
In 2019, the taxman collected a total of P787.9 million as levies on behalf of these departments, which was an increase from P767.9 million collected in the prior year.
The drop in the amount collected from the alcohol comes after President Mokgweetsi Masisi reduced the levy by 20 percent from 55 percent to 35 percent.
The levy was first introduced in 2008 as a way to combat alcohol abuse and was gradually increased over the years until it reached 55 percent.
While the alcohol levy contributed almost 60 percent of the total amount of levies collected, it was followed by transport permits by 30.6 percent at P240.9 million, an increase of P43 million from P197.7 million in the previous year.
Third on the list was the tobacco levy at P60 million, a drop of P2 million from P62 million collected in 2018.
Meanwhile, BURS says uncollected arrears that accrued in the 2018/2019 financial year stood at P1.3 billion as of 31st March 2019.
While the taxman said efforts were made during the year to reduce the arrears through recoveries and emissions, the total arrears as of 31st March 2019 stood at P3.4 billion which was an increase of 2.9 percent of the total outstanding of March 2018 of P3.3 billion.
It is reported that the outstanding balance indicates that the interest and penalties accounted for 72.7 percent of the arrears whilst the principal tax outstanding was 2.7 percent.
According to the report, the bulk of the arrears were charged for late payment of tax and late filing of returns.