In accordance with the evolving trend of transparency in levy matters globally, the Botswana Unified Revenue Service (BURS) will, forensically, through audit data or having direct access to accounts, monitor all bank accounts suspect of tax evasion.
The country’s Minister of Trade said in the second week of February that subsequent to amending the Income Tax Act, which helps the country to perpetuate flow of levy information with other nations, his Ministry will be very keen on how it gains access to individuals’ accounts to help keep the flame of transparency alive.
One of the prerogatives of the regulation will be to tow away real estate and other assets of those it investigates through the Directorate of Intelligence & Security and finds them persona non grata, in tax terms, through their unscrupulous tax-self-exempting accounts. He also added that BURS will be routing all economic niches without ceremony.
Big Brother will be watching
Botswana has one of the most stringent tax parameters in the South African region and maintains a prolific watch on the various segments of taxation.
Residential tax, for example, applies to residents and non-residents alike. The latter ought to still remit residential levy if they will have stayed in the country for at least 183 days, irrespective of nationality, as long as in that duration the documents such as Visa show they have been living in town.
The same residential levy applies to a person in the country, on business, and is present inside the borders for a perpetual period that can register with the authorities as appropriating the term ‘resident’ on them.
Another interesting area of taxation in Botswana that the government will also be looking into, particularly for its intangible monetary float but inversely lucrative conversion in its asset format, is farming. Rural residents with a hundred hectares and/ or with 300 or 1800 cattle and goats, respectively, are also, perforce, by law, taxpayers.
The Botswana tax system also offers flexible levy terms for farmers who have experienced crop failure or loss of heads of livestock due to blights, but to walk off a free man, one must write to BURS to channel the dues to extra sources of livelihood, in as long as the demand does not go beyond half the new source that will take the tax swap.
With its current mechanism to approach the issue from a clear-headed angle, the South African country is also keen on phasing off corruption. Transparency International (TI) gave the nation a rating of 6.5/10 points for making gains in fighting rotten bureaucracy.
Tax evasion is one of the most apparent examples of corruption in many countries.