Receiver of Revenue to be replaced
Minister Saara Kuugongelwa-Amadhila commissioned the team led by the Deputy Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Finance I-Ben Nashandi at a media briefing held in the capital on Thursday. The commissioning of the task team is the culmination of a study launched in 2012 to look at the feasibility of a semi-autonomous revenue agency that will assist in tax administration.
Efforts to establish a revenue agency to be modeled either along the lines of the South African Revenue Service (SARS), Botswana Unified Revenue Services (BURS), the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (ZIMRA) or a hybrid of such semi-autonomous revenue services in the region, is part of a wider tax reform agenda.
Kuugongelwa-Amadhila said according to findings of the study, it was concluded that tax administration is most optimised within a revenue agency model due to the flexibility that such an agency has in harnessing specialised skills and leveraging technological innovations.
Cabinet is said to have already approved in principle the establishment of a revenue agency and the establishment of a dedicated task team to develop options for the revenue agency models that can be considered for Namibia.
Once a model has been adopted, the task team will then spearhead the drafting of the legal framework and assist with the setting up of the revenue agency. As part of its mandate, the team will also offer advice on the transitional arrangements from the current structure to the new revenue agency.
The minister said a decision will have to be made whether to copy other models operating in the region or to come up with a hybrid model. “We have seen that there are pros and cons with running the different models,” the minister said. Once operational, the new revenue agency will be responsible for the administration of the tax revenue in the country but will still be accountable to the minister. However, the tax policy function will remain with the minister. The tax reform agenda will also see the modernisation of the country’s tax system through the introduction of the integrated tax administration system (ITAS) by March 2016 as well as the broadening and deepening of the tax base. In efforts to streamline and improve business processes, a Larger Taxpayer Directorate, and Small and Medium Taxpayer Directorate have also been established within the Inland Revenue Department. The former has a dedicated unit for specialised industries and professionals.