LRA shifts from ‘cops and robbers’ approach

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By ’Mamokete Makōkō

The Lesotho Revenue Authority (LRA) has taken a new strategic plan named “Rea Aha” that it has been modeling from 2018 and it comes a major shift from its old “cops and robbers” approach to a new “client and service provider” approach.

Pheello Mphana, the LRA Public Relations Manager said the strategy changes the way they have been working in the past, whereby the LRA relied more on Law enforcement approaches and they are shifting to strategies that focus more on making it easier for clients to comply with their tax regulations.

He explained that Rea Aha’s guiding policy is to build a service culture through collaborative leadership and build automatic compliance by harnessing strategic partnerships and developing business acumen.

Mphana declared that Rea Aha was implemented because the LRA service delivery survey got feedback from the clients that their turnaround times take too long, meaning the LRA delayed in responding to queries raised by clients and that clients with similar issues are treated differently.

“We put service at the heart of everything we do and we value our clients”, said Mphana.

He specified that the Service Delivery Standards are a guiding policy and LRA’s commitment to clients as they continue to serve them and that it is their commitment to “modernize, digitalize and empower their clients to interact with them using platforms that are faster”.

Mphana explained that under specific standards walk-ins will be available within 24 hours of tax registration, online services of company registrations will be available within 48 hours and VAT registrations will be available within 48 hours.

He said under registration customs and excise (licenses, accreditation, and warehouses), preliminary applications will be responded to within 48 hours.

With interim e-filing, he added that it will be accessible on the LRA website and the email filing, through the address that will cease to operate beyond the 31st March 2022.

“You do not have to come to LRA for the returns, the LRA Toll-free number will be available, the quad 5 number will cease to operate beyond the 31st March 2022 and for inquiries, will be used” concluded Mphana.

Binary deduction system introduced to reduce tax returns turnaround time

For his part, Letsatsi Sepiriti Tax Education Manager said on standards, “When talking about employee’s tax refunds, you have learned that in accordance to our standards they are going to take forty days for them to be paid”.

Sepiriti said forty days is a lengthy period, most specifically for businesses or clients that have other commitments for their money.

He added in order to do away with the forty days period, LRA is introducing a “binary deduction system that we have put in place to reduce the turnaround times”

“This is so that going forward one can have their tax refunds processed in real-time. This is to means that when an employer processes a payroll, all deductions that are employment-related be deducted where the payroll is being deducted so that an employee does not wait for the end of the financial year to file their tax refunds to be paid forty days after the filing is made.

“So our intention is for all the payments to be made there and then when the processing is done,” said Sepiriti.

Sepiriti added that the law provides that workers should file their tax returns, but a majority of those who comply with the law only do so is because they want to file in order to be illegible for the repayment of tax returns.

He said these are some of the things that “we are implementing that shall reduce the turnaround times for the processing of employee tax returns”.

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