Only 38 000 tax returns filed for 2023

Baitshepi Sekgweng
BURS BOSS: Makgolo

As the tax return filing season commences, Botswana Unified Revenue Services (BURS) has revealed that only 38 000 returns were received in 2023 against the expected 70 000.

The figure indicates that only 54 percent managed to submit their returns.

Of those who filed returns, 77 percent made their submissions online.

BURS has taken a lead in Domestic Resource Mobilisation through tax revenue collection as evidenced by a call to collect P 70.756 billion for 2024/25financial year which makes approximately 70 percent of the Government funding requirement.

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Calling for all individual taxpayers to submit their returns for the tax year July 1, 2023, to June 30, 2024, BURS Commissioner General Jeanette Makgolo said through this exercise, both the taxpayer and the Revenue Service can ascertain the true amount of tax remitted to the tax man by the taxpayer, and thus contributing their fair share to national socio-economic needs.

“It is of utmost importance that filing of returns and payment of taxes is done on time and in compliance with relevant statutes. This exercise is by no means any form of tool to frustrate anyone but rather important for maintaining high levels of voluntary compliance and citizen’s confidence in the overall tax system. In other words, it is merely a means through which every taxpayer proudly declares that they have indeed played their part in financing the socio-economic status of their country,” said Makgolo at the launch of the 2024 tax returns filing season.

The filing requirements remain unchanged with all individuals with a gross income of more than P480 000 per annum required to file a tax return.

However, individuals with gross income less than P480 000 per annum are not required to file their tax returns on conditions that their total income: arises solely from employment, was from a single employer, and
deducted by the employer as Pay-As-You-Earn (PAYE).

“It is important to note that individuals with multiple sources of income are required to file returns even if their total gross income is less than P480 000 per annum. If you were employed for less than 12 months in the tax year, you are also required to file. If you have changed by moving from one employer to another, you are also required to file,” explained Makgolo

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This filing dispensation does not affect the requirement to register for income tax by all those whose income exceeds the threshold of P480 000 per annum.

Further, employers are encouraged to submit tax returns of the amounts deducted from their employees for the tax year ended June 30, 2024, by July 31, 2024, as this will enable employees to access and download their tax certificates.

BURS is mandated to administer and enforce Botswana’s revenue laws for the purpose of assessing, collecting, auditing and accounting for taxes which include facilitating legitimate international trade through customs border management and enforcement and collection of levies on behalf other agencies.

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“We consider this mandate as critical in anchoring the Government of Botswana towards attainment of its vision aspirations; that of transforming the economy from an Upper-Middle-Income to a High-Income- status by 2036, the transition to which is underpinned on resilient and robust finances to fund investment and business opportunities that create jobs and generate wealth,” said Makgolo.

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