Helena Johannes

The Ministry of Finance has extended the submission deadline for annual individual income tax returns from 30 September to 1 March 2021.

Ministry spokesperson, Tonateni Shidhudhu said the extension was being done in order to “allow more time to employers who did not submit their employees Tax Returns (ETX template/excel sheer) on the Integrated Tax Administration System portal,” adding that the extension only applies to the filing of returns, not for the payment of tax which is still due by 30 September.

This comes after the finance ministry only managed to register 24 percent out of its 90 percent target of registered tax payers for its Integrated Tax Administrative System (ITAS) since January 2020 and comes as registration has since been extended from its original deadline which supposed to be 30 of June 2020 to September 30.

The ministry however said online submission of ETX excel sheet remain a prerequisite before annual individual tax returns are filed.

“Assessments for employees can only be finalized provided their respective employers have submitted monthly Employee Tax returns excel spread sheet,” he said.

According to Shidhudhu, there are 10,518 companies that have not yet submitted spreadsheets on ITAS portal.

“Despite our vigorous campaigns to educate employers on how to submit the ETX returns, this remains a challenge,” he said

He added that the ministry is currently carrying out a training plan for those companies as tax payers, and their target is to ensure that these companies made their returns submission by the end of November this year.

“It is a serious project that we are embarking on as from now, targeting big institutions that are still struggling,” the finance ministry spokesperson said.

“The ministry is therefore urging employers who did not yet submit their monthly detailed ETX returns for a period from March 2019 to February 2020 to submit in order to avoid penalties.”

According to Shidhudhu, the online penalty waving incentive program has also extended to 01 March 2021.

The announcement by the Ministry of Finance comes after the Director of Small and Medium Taxpayers from the Ministry, Chris Classen revealed to Windhoek Observer earlier this year that there has been a slow movement on the taxpayer’s registration through the ITAS platform regardless of its due date extension to the 30th of September.

Classen revealed that Namibia has a total number of 723,939 tax payers, of which only 171,646 has registered so far through ITAS this year.