Botswana Unified Revenues Services said despite challenges it continued to perform above targets on its mandate to collect taxes for the government, it said in its annual report for last year.
The organisation that was previously headed by Freddie Modise revealed it engaged debt collectors to deal with about 387 cases of tax defaulters, BURS 2009/10 report stated.
It added that legal debt proceedings are instituted against the defaulters who refuse to pay the tax assessed in accordance with the provisions of the revenue laws.
In this period, tax arrears amounting to P289 million were under appeal, the report reveals that the tax arrears under appeal could result in tax assessments being adjusted.
Government has of late approved some of the amendments to the income tax act, including the change from a two tier system to a single tier tax system. By the time the report was released, additional amendments were yet to be approved by government.
The changes are expected to enhance tax compliance and revenue collection with hopes that they will be in effect from the 2011/2012 year.
“The approval and implementation of the proposed income tax amendments would lead to enhanced tax compliance and revenue collections. The review of processes and procedures should also lead to the minimisation of the taxpayer compliance costs,” said Taufila Nyamadzabo, BURS Board chairman.
Nyamadzabo revealed that in spite of some of the challenges they faced, such as the global crisis, BURS managed to perform considerably well in respect of the collection of tax revenue. He said that the revenue service’s recorded a total tax revenue collection of 20.007 million during the year evaluated against a target of 16,042 million. The results showed a growth of P809 million or 4.2 percent when compared to that of the 2008/2009 era.
He reported that BURS was still faced with a number of challenges such as their two main concerns, which are inadequate finances and skilled human resources. He named the changing diversity of the customer base as one of the challenges that have put pressure on the organisation to improve not only its service delivery, but also its operating model and the performance measurement system.
The organisation is planning to introduce a call centre during the 2011 year to improve its customer service delivery. Currently, customers can only visit the BURS offices physically; the new call centre will ensure access of services through telephones.
One of the major challenges BURS is facing is the maintenance of border posts facilities across the country. Botswana’s border posts are reportedly many and geographically widespread. Most of the border posts are in a poor state of repair, which means that BURS funding would have to be increased for the facilities to be maintained to an acceptable standard.
However, one of the borders, Ramokgwebana, is being upgraded with constructing covered walkways, a new commercial office block for clearing agents, ablution blocks, and extension of the existing office and the construction of staff houses.
The chairman paid tribute to the first commissioner general of BURS, Freddy Modise, who retired in December. He has since been replaced by Keneilwe Morris.