The business community as well as the public is warned new rules for tax payment at non-designated ports of entry of Lesotho.
The warning comes from the Lesotho Revenue Authority (LRA) which has warned that if it is at all possible for a business women or men to cross at designated ports of entry they should do that to avoid paying tax twice.
According to the LRA Deputy Commissioner Frontier Services in the division of Client Services, Tebello Makhachane, due to the decision made by the South African Revenue Service (SARS) according to their law, because their customs offices are not placed at non-designated ports of entry, they cannot continue to refund the LRA for tax invoices that were issued by business people crossing into Lesotho.
“Before, the LRA used to take tax invoices from people crossing into the country with goods that worth M250 and more and then request refund from SARS on behalf of the business person and that way the owner of goods would have paid tax. But with SARS saying they will no longer accept the tax invoices from ports of entry where they do not have their customs offices, the LRA is forced to demand cash for tax paying from people with goods worth more than M250,” he said.
He indicated that, from the 13th of December 2021, all people eligible to pay tax upon their entry with goods worth more than M250 they will be expected to do that with cash not tax invoices.
“This will start to be implemented at the Sani Pass because the only non-commercial port of entry now but as soon as others like Monontša, Peka, Sephapo, Makahleng, Tele and Ramatšeliso resume dutywill also follow once they are back on operation,” he said.
“We therefore have no choice as LRA but have to make sure that every Mosotho pays tax as they are forced by the law. The sad truth about this is that Basotho will be paying tax twice because LRA is expected to collect that tax. The obligation of a Mosotho or business person to pay tax has not changed. Or the option in place is for people is to avoid using non-commercial ports of entry especially when they are carrying goods worth more than M250 to avoid double taxation,” he said.
He indicated that the country has lost some collection due to the decision but he could not estimate how much. “Due to the restriction of movement in the time of Covid-19 the country has not lost much compared to what it would have lost if the movements were not restricted,” he said.