THE Lesotho Revenue Authority (LRA) will reward taxpayers who will file their returns before the 30 June deadline with various prizes as the authority tries to encourage compliance, Commissioner General, Thabo Khasipe has said.
Mr Khasipe was speaking last Friday at the launch of the 2017/18 Filing Season Campaign at Manthabiseng Convention Centre in Maseru.
The move comes on the back of another failure by the taxman to meet the revenue targets for the second year running.
In the 2016/17 financial year, the authority missed its target by M430 million which translates to a 6.4 percent shortfall while in 2017/18, the revenue gap increased to M607 million which translates to a 9.2 percent deficit.
Non- compliance was cited as one of the major causes for the organisation’s failure to meet its target in the 2016/17 and 2017/2019 financial years.
LRA has already indicated that it is changing its approach from its heavy-handed nature to being friendlier to the taxpayers in order to encourage tax compliance.
Mr Khasipe said the organisation was willing to try new mechanisms among them the tax lottery where compliant taxpayers stand a chance of winning prizes.
“We are introducing a tax lottery where all individuals and business will be entered into a competition and stand a chance to walk away with some notable prizes,” Mr Khasipe said.
“The lottery is for individuals and small and medium businesses who will file their returns and pay tax before the deadline. Further details pertaining to this venture will be announced in due course.
He said a number of initiatives would be embarked on in order to remind the public about their tax obligations.
“These initiatives include door to door visits to various business places in all ten districts and other areas such as Semonkong and Mantsonyane to assist our clients to fulfill their tax obligations such as registration,” he said adding that they would also educate the public about the country’s tax system and their role as individual taxpayers.
“We implore all large businesses, small and medium businesses, partnerships, sole traders, employees and of course all individuals who have made and received an income in 2017/18 financial year to file and submit their Income Tax Returns and pay what is due.”
LRA has previously launched the Voluntary Disclosure Programme and the Simplified Business Tax in February this year, a move that Mr Khasipe said was clear demonstration of a change of approach.