By GYNNIE KERO
SOME companies and government departments have failed to remit personal income tax deductions of employees totalling K1.8 billion to the Internal Revenue Commission (IRC) since 2014.
By right, acting IRC commissioner-general Sam Koim said such deductions from salaries and wages must be remitted monthly.
Koim said this yesterday when announcing a three-month penalty amnesty on salaries and wages tax (SWT) from January to March.
“All SWT returns must be up to date, including that of next month.
“Taxpayers cannot use credits available in other types of taxes to offset SWT,” he added.
Koim warned that any SWT debt established from an IRC audit would not qualify for amnesty.
“Taxpayers will get a full write-off (100 per cent) of penalties where the base tax of the SWT are paid up during the amnesty period.
“Where the base tax is zero at the start of this amnesty period but the corresponding penalties are still outstanding, the taxpayer can pay 10 per cent of these penalties.
“Thereby benefits with a write-off on the net balance.
“However, returns for other types of taxes must be up to date,” he added.
Koim said: “Taxpayer are to consult the IRC and reconcile their SWT account.
“Where both party’s records agree, it will assist a smooth facilitation.
“Tax agents cannot seek extensions for and on behalf of their clients.”
He said many employees of Government organisations, State-owned enterprises and private corporations had been complaining that they were paying more taxes under IRC’s progressive personal income tax regime.
“But we have witnessed a growing pattern where employers are withholding salary and wages tax deductions of employees and instead of transferring to IRC, the taxes are diverted to meet operational expenses.
“This pattern of withholding wages and salary tax deductions is not only an offence under the law where pecuniary penalties will strictly be applied.
“It will be (treated) as a criminal matter for employers – directors, chief executive officers and managers – who fail to pay the IRC (money) they collect and withhold on account of the employees,” he added.
Currently, there are only 12,500 active taxpayers, apart from the more than 17,000 registered TIN numbers.
By GYNNIE KERO