Tax Affairs- A Beautiful Nightmare

“The hardest thing to understand in the world is the income tax” Albert Einstein

The buzz word by the Lesotho Revenue Authority (LRA) the last few months has been ” File your tax returns”. And I know a significant number of us (young professionals) have ignored this message for several reasons, which I will address in a bit.

I don’t know about you, but I’ve had a love hate relationship with my tax affairs for a while and this is why. While I appreciate that taxes are used for the development of infrastructure such as hospitals, roads and building of schools etc. by the government in an effort to improve our beautiful country; seeing just how much pay as you earn (PAYE) I pay monthly, leaves me feeling hopeless. But because I am an optimist, the pursuit of silver linings is standard, so here goes…

The reason so many of us do not not see the need to file our tax returns is because we assume that our respective HR offices are filing returns on our behalf. And indeed they are helping, but only as agents of the Receiver of Revenue. An agent’s responsibility in this regard is only to help the Receiver of Revenue to collect taxes on its behalf. Which means your employer has not filed on your behalf.

So what does this mean you might ask?

The truth is you have an obligation as a tax payer according to the Income Tax Act of 1993 to pay taxes. So while our employers are helping us to pay taxes over to LRA on our behalf, the responsibilities to file annually lies with each one of us. And this is a legal obligation!

What do I do now you might ask?

1. The first step is to ask your HR office for your P16 (they will know what this is).

2. Go to LRA’s website, nearest LRA advice center or any of the commercial banks and collect an Income Return Form.

3. Complete the form, which often looks complicated, but they provide a completed template to guide you. Attach your P16 and any relevant documents.

4. Submit the return form at any advice center or commercial bank. Make sure they stamp the form if submitting at a commercial bank.

I love to comply, which is another element of being financially ” savvy”. This being the case, I’ve just come back from a commercial bank to submit my returns which is a huge relief. Now I patiently wait for my tax clearance.

My advice is to acknowledge you have a responsibility to file and to get going with it as a matter of urgency.?Follow the steps above and start the process towards being cleared for taxes. You only have till the 30th June 2018 to submit and avoid any penalties.

Take control of your financial affairs and comply.

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Decisions- Financial or otherwise…


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