Helena Johannes

The Ministry of Finance has only managed to register 24 percent out of its 90 percent target of registered tax payers for its Integrated Tax Administrative System (ITAS), Windhoek Observer can reveal.

According to the Ministry only 98,959 out of 369,509 taxpayers have registered through ITAS. Demographically the registrations are: Windhoek (27 percent), Walvis Bay 23,490 out of 103,998 (23 percent), Oshakati 17,199 out of 102,524 (17 percent), Otjiwarongo 12,031 out of 55,794 (22 percent), Keetmanshoop 11,319 out of 49,870 (23 percent), Katima Mulilo 4,037 out of 12,971 (31 percent) and Rundu 3,980 out of 28,491 (14 percent).

The revelation comes as the September 30 deadline for registration looms after an extension from the initial deadline of 30th of June 2020.

“There has been a slow movement on the taxpayer’s registration through the ITAS platform which is due on the 30th of September 2020, as Namibia has a total number of 723,939 tax payers, of which only 171,646 has registered so far through the Integrated Tax Administrative System (ITAS) this year,” Director of Small and Medium Taxpayers from the Ministry of Finance, Chris Classen said.

“The ministry’s aim is to reach a target of 90 percent of taxpayer population to register as e-filers by the end of September.”

He added that the Ministry would also like to see a shift from manual interaction between Inland Revenue Department and taxpayers to a continuous use of the online platform.

“Reaching this target is necessary because the ministry may in the future require taxpayers to file all tax returns electronically without an option of manual filing,” he said.

However, he said there was no expected extension on the registration deadline, with provisions provided for individuals who have convincing reasons on why they did not apply on time.

“The manual process to obtain such an extension is very tedious, because one has to write a letter or email and make sure it reaches the right person for it to be approved,” Classen said.

“The short way will be, if you are an e-filer, there is a function on a portal which can allow one to click in order to request an extension,” he added.

He clarified that people who fail to pay their taxes this year will face a 10 percent interest penalty on their assessment amount.

“In addition to that, there will be a 20 percent charges for every year that one delay that particular payment,” he said.

Classen urged tax payers to use the ITAS online portal as it saves time. People would not have to stand in long queues at the Ministry of Finance in order to pay on time and avoid extra charges. “The system provides many online benefits such as 24/7 real time access to taxpayer tax account, self-service, online filling of tax returns and many more benefits,” he said

He added that the Ministry is also offering an incentive in the form of waiving penalties charged on tax accounts. “In order to qualify for this incentive, a taxpayer needs to register on ITAS portal as an e-filer and update through online submission all tax accounts for all tax types in respect of tax returns that might be outstanding,” he said.