Basotho to pay double tax at non-commercial borders

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By Mamello Mosaefane

Basotho will be paying double the tax at non-commercial border gates following South African Revenue Service’s cancellation of invoice payments for goods.

The Lesotho Revenue Authority revealed that goods worth more than M250 will have to be taxed in cash at the non-commercial borders, not through invoice payment like it used to be.

The deputy commissioner in the client services division at LRA, Tebello Makhechane, said the double payment is the new reality that tax payers have to adapt to.

“This is the painful reality that we have to face now. If you cross at Sani pass next week the 14th with goods paid for tax while buying, and with an invoice proving so, you will still have to pay tax in cash.

“The tax obligation has not changed due to SARS cancellation of refunding tax invoice payment,” said Makhechane.

This new way of tax paying will be effective from the 13th December at Sani pass as it is the only small and non-commercial border that is still in operation during this Covid-19 time.

Makhechane said all other non-commercial borders will resume taxing goods worth more than M250 in cash as soon as they get back in operation.

Automatically, some of the shops tax buyers as they make the purchase, making buyers to present the slip at LRA which will then be claimed from SARS.

Makhechane therefore said SARS will no longer be accepting claims and paying refunds to LRA in a form of tax invoices, leading to people having to pay further tax in cash for the goods they bought in South Africa.

“Tax invoices are no longer accepted by SARS, therefore we have no choice but to inform Basotho that their tax invoices are no longer refundable by SARS, but the law needs people to pay tax. Pay for your goods in cash,” Makhechane said.

He further added that SARS changed its way of doing things at small borders because it does not have agents placed there and felt it should stop refunding tax invoices for goods not seen by any agent.

LRA had been sending tax invoices to SARS to claim refunds for goods bought by Basotho in South Africa, and the refunds were done without SARS having seen such goods.

Makhechane has therefore urged Business people to avoid non-commercial borders, especially the currently operating Sani pass if possible, to avoid the cash taxation while they have already paid when purchasing.

The authority also said it will be addressing the people of Mokhotlong on this new way of tax payment as they are the ones mostly using Sani pass; which is the one to be immediately affected amongst the non-commercial borders.