LRA exceeds revenue collection target

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Rethabile Pitso

MASERU BORDERTHE Lesotho Revenue Authority (LRA) surpassed government’s set targets for tax collection by one percent in the financial year which ended on 31 March 2015.

Addressing a media briefing on Monday, LRA Commissioner General Thabo Letjama said the revenue collector accrued M5.182 billion in the 2014/15 financial year, exceeding the M5.132 billion government target.

This was an improvement, Mr Letjama said, from the remittances of the 2013/14 financial year by 17 percent in which they failed to meet their target.

On the income tax front, which comprises of personal income tax, corporate income tax, withholding tax, fringe benefits tax and gaming levy, the LRA collected M3.065 billion against a target of M2.931 billion. However, on Value Added Tax (VAT), the authority failed to meet the M2.201 billion target with revenue of M2.117 billion.

“Our income tax performance was good and exceeded the target amount by M133.7 million,” said Mr Letjama.

“Our VAT performance, however, did not live up to expectations after having collected M2.117 billion of the M2.201 billion set target.

“This means we fell short by M83.8 million, which was compensated by the good performance of income tax.”

He attributed the overall upswing of revenue collection to the “positive” showing by the mining and financial sectors in particular “and greater cooperation with stakeholders” in general.

“There has been a positive performance from the mining and financial sectors as well as satisfactory turnout of stakeholders who have been compliant with filing their tax returns and making payments on time,” Mr Letjama said.

“The LRA itself has improved its strategic methods of collecting revenue and the authority will continue to invest in technology to improve our efficiency, skills development for both our staff and taxpayers as well as strategic partnerships to enhance detection of and ability to deal with non-compliant members.”

He added that the authority was also automating its processes, from customs to inland taxes to nip all forms of evasion in the bud. The LRA is currently piloting the ASYCUDA World System in Maputsoe which Mr Letjama said would be rolled out in August.

“The Inland taxes will be automated with an Oracle Enterprise Tax and Policy Management System, under which we are running a pilot of the VAT system with the larger taxpayer department and have launched a system for re-registering all taxpayers,” he said.

“We will be rolling out the other modules of the system in the current financial year and others in the next.”

Mr Letjama also urged all eligible businesses and individuals to file their annual reports on time to avoid the unnecessary penalties imposed on those who refuse to comply.

He said some defaulters did not bother to file their returns, with some of those who filed under-declaring their incomes or turnover, while others did not pay on time or at all.

“Non-compliance robs our country of its ability to provide for its citizens, said Mr Letjama.

“It defeats the very purpose of taxation, which is to ensure proper redistribution of income to avoid having a country where a few go with a lot, while the rest go without.”

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