BURS tightens tax laws

Kabelo Adamson

Botswana Unified Revenue Service (BURS) is undertaking some key activities that are expected to expedite BURS’ operational efficiency in tax revenue collection.

When briefing the media recently, Minister of Finance and Economic Development, Peggy Serame, said some of these activities include the review of the tax legislation.

“We are undertaking a holistic review of the Value Added Tax Act and the Income Tax Act to ensure that these legislations anchor the efficacy of tax revenue mobilization in the modern society,” said the finance minister.

Serame said the review will result in the enactment of a new Tax Administration Act, as well as revised Income Tax Act and VAT Act.

BURS, according to Serame, will also increase tax audits and inspections.

“BURS is enhancing the capacity, skills and capabilities of its auditors to ensure that there is no tax revenue that eludes the Government,” she said.

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The minister said this includes training tax auditors continuously in general, auditing techniques and in specialized areas such as international financial reporting standards, auditing the telecommunications, mining, retail and financial sectors, as well as transfer pricing.

“To that effect, the Auditors have commenced audits in these specialised sectors and BURS continues to explore the possibility of auditing other areas such as the tourism sector,” she said.

Meanwhile, the tax agency has at the end of March this collected revenue amounting to P45.3 billion, surpassing a target of P44.4 billion.

BURS Commissioner General, Jeanette Makgolo, said this was on the back of a stronger income tax and VAT collection.

Last the government raised VAT from 12 percent to 14 percent while more taxes such as sugar tax were introduced.

“You will agree with me that, during this period where macroeconomic conditions are not favourable to realise optimal revenue collection, this collection is not a windfall, but the results of deliberate efforts and hardwork of visionary men and women of BURS, and our key stakeholders,” said Makgolo.

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During the 2022/2023 financial year, the tax agency is eyeing to collect P46.433 billion.

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