LRA pushes for voluntary tax compliance

LRA pushes for voluntary tax compliance

MASERU – THE Lesotho Revenue Authority (LRA) this week unveiled a new programme to encourage voluntary compliance with the country’s tax laws. Starting on Monday, Basotho can now go and voluntarily disclose their sources of income to the LRA.

Speaking at the launch of the Voluntary Disclosure Program on Tuesday, LRA Commissioner General Thabo Khasipe said the initiative is aimed at expanding the tax net and minimising the tax burden from compliant payers by fostering a culture of voluntary compliance.
He said through this program those who did not previously disclose their income streams will be forgiven and exempted from paying penalties and arrears.

“For those who voluntarily come forward, we will offer up to 100 percent pardon and start a new page,” Khasipe said.
He warned those who might be reluctant to come forward that a liability can escalate up to 200 percent.

“For example, a liability of M10 000 can easily compound to M30 000 in months and millions in years,” Khasipe said.
Khasipe said Basotho can go to the LRA’s offices at Maseru Mall, Mohale’s Hoek Advice Centre and Leribe Advice Centre to disclose and then pay through banks or the LRA banking hall.

“There will be mobile offices in Thaba-Tseka and Mokhotlong and we are still arranging that it should also be possible to pay through M-Pesa and Eco-Cash,” he said.

He urged Basotho to form a new relationship with the LRA for the development of the country.
He said previously the authority was accused of having rude employees, who chased taxpayers like robbers, and did not involve them during the design of solutions.

They were also accused of taking too long to respond to queries among other things.
“The authority is evolving and adopting a friendly approach to encourage compliance,” Khasipe said.

The Minister of Finance Dr Moeketsi Majoro encouraged taxpayers to take full advantage of the programme and get their tax affairs in order.
“While the programme is intended to be permanent, it is important for non-compliant taxpayers to move swiftly to regularise their tax affairs so that our tax system remains effective and fair,” Majoro said.

He indicated that this programme is one of several that will follow in the quest to collect all tax that is due to the government, with the right amounts at the right time.

Majoro said the idea is to come up with a tax system that is efficient, transparent and fair.
He said this will only be achieved when the authority does so professionally and with care as to foster voluntary compliance.

Lemohang Rakotsoane

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