Lesotho Revenue Authority (LRA) and Lesotho Institute of Accountants (LIA) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding to ease and expedite filing of tax returns.
During the signing ceremony on Tuesday (26/03/2019), LRA Commissioner Thabo Khasipe said the MOU would facilitate for Accountants registered with LIA to become agents that could help clients file for tax returns and perform many other functions that would speed up the process of filing returns, on behalf of LRA.
He said customers would be required to pay a fee determined by such agents but were at liberty not to do so if they so wish and preferred to be assisted by LRA personnel.
Khasipe announced that LRA was embarking in a turnaround strategy that moves away from the ‘Cops and Robbers’ approach to the ‘Client and Service Provider’ approach and would thus enhance tax payers’ willingness to pay their taxes on time as delivery of service would be improved.
He said the change of strategy was informed by the desire not to paint every tax payer with the same brush, hence they were also changing their tone and language, so that people would cease from fearing or disdaining LRA.
He also observed that there were people who were ready to pay their taxes as they had been doing all along but there were those who were reluctant to pay that is why they were increasing efforts to sensitize ‘clients’ on the importance of being tax compliant.
He further emphasised the pertinence for all LRA structures to work together for a common goal of collecting taxes by creating synergy between LRA units such as, clients’ services, advisory, supply chain and technical staff.
“We have adopted four disciplines of execution and we are now beyond planning but one year into executing. We are focusing on what moves the organisation and minimises focus on the whirlwind. We want to increase client satisfaction rating of excellence from 10% to 60% by June 2020 and we are going to reduce IT refund turnaround time from 105 to 60 days by March 31,” he added.
LRA, he continued, also wanted to improve revenue performance, improve quality service, reduce cost of collection and improve a voluntary compliance culture. He stated that tax clearance certificates would also be available online from March 31, 2019 and added that they were going to reduce response time for all queries from 5 days to 1 day.
In addition, Khasipe stated that LRA had established a youth development programme which focuses on queue management as a system which has been introduced at all service centres to reduce queuing time for tax payers.
As another way of improving services, he said LRA had linked all borders so that when someone is being taxed at a certain border it could also reflect in all computers.
Khasipe signed the MOU with LIA Chief Executive Officer Monyaula Mosolane who also expressed his gratitude to partnering with LRA.