The date for income tax return submissions is very important and mist be diarized. But it is often a date that many people easily let slip in their minds. For any registered individual that earns more than P3, 000 per month or P36 000 per year, submitting am annual tax return is an obligatory exercise.
The Botswana Unified Revenue Service (BURS) gives both companies and individuals a specified period of time for submission of their income tax returns, which they must abide to. A company is given four months and an individual three months after the end of the financial year and tax year respectively. A tax year runs from the first of July to the 30th of June of the succeeding year and the income tax return submission due date is 30th September of every year. As per the BURS determined tax tables, the percentage of a tax charge on a salary is calculated and the resultant rates for different salary amounts are worked out. This therefore means that there is no one percentage tax charge for tax payers. Tax returns allow BURS to determine the amount of money that is legally owed to it as a taxing authority. Individuals and companies file their income taxes and submit them to BURS for assessment.
BURS is embarking on country wide individual tax return workshops whose intent is to sensitize the public on the changes that were introduced into the tax return form this year. It encourages employers to release their employees to attend either the morning or afternoon sessions which take about two hours between 0900 and 1700 hours.
The workshops will kick start in Gaborone from 22 -28 September 2015 at Ave Maria Pastoral Center and continue consecutively from 6 ÔÇô 9 October in Ramotswa, Moshupa, Molepolole and Mochudi respectively. Following that, they will extend to various other regions as per the stated date. The last workshop will be held on 15 October 2015 in Tutume at Shumba lodge. More information regarding the dates and places of workshops can be obtained from BURS by either telephone or email. The income tax return submission due date does not change, but however certain changes will be discussed. According to BURS the workshop dates extend beyond the submission due date (30 September 2015) due to delayed preparation of the forms.
BURS encourages employees to ask questions relating to returns at the workshops. BURS sends reminders to tax payers on submission of income tax return forms through post and email; however it is a common case that the reminder letters arrive late at the post or a lack of delivery of emails. Tax payers are therefore advised to proactively regard and act on tax returns and ensure that submissions are done on time. In the case that a tax payer did not receive a return or has misplaced it, BURS advises that when the time a tax payer knows that they should have received a tax has passed, they may enquire either through the tax assistance centre or personally. The extension of time to file a return applies after consideration of reasons given, which therefore means that there is a possibility that it can be disallowed. BURS imposes penalties and an interest charge for late submission of returns.