THE Lesotho Revenue Authority (LRA) has called upon landlords to pay tax for their rental apartments as failure to do so was a crime.
According to LRA Public Relations and Communications Manager, Pheello Mphana, landlords are supposed to pay tax as their apartments are a source of income.
“Landlords have an obligation to declare the income they generate from such houses and pay tax as expected by the law,” Mr Mphana said.
“All property owners who have not been paying tax are flouting tax-laws and if caught, they will be penalised. We appeal to all the landlords to disclose their properties as expected by the law and pay tax accordingly.
“Anyone collecting M32, 330 annually, does not pay tax but those collecting M54, 770.16 are liable to pay tax at 20 percent of that amount. If it’s more than that, the tax for the balance will be at 30percent.”
According to Mr Mphana, landlords have always had an obligation to pay tax.
“This has always been the case but the problem is lack of compliance and this calls for enforcement to make them pay. We have campaigns outlined for tax-collection; it’s just that we are always generalizing issues and don’t have a specific target on rented property,” said Mr Mphana.
“This is not a new issue at all. Landlords have to know their obligations and are expected to pay 20 percent of their takings on the rent. They have the obligation to declare their property and failure to do so will see them being penalised.”
Mr Mphana also said all Basotho, not just landlords, should declare their sources of income so that they can pay tax as expected.
Meanwhile, the same issue of taxation of rental apartments was debated in parliament on Tuesday after it was raised by All Basotho Convention (ABC) deputy leader, Tlali Khasu.
Mr Khasu maintained that the government should look at other sources of revenue instead of relying on the Southern African Customs Union (SACU).
He said taxing property owners was a reliable way of realising this funding.
“The government is losing a lot of money by not collecting revenue from these landlords as their rental houses are their source of income,” Mr Khasu had said.
Mr Khasu urged the government to resort to other means of tax collection since SACU revenue is declining. He said this could prove problematic for Lesotho in the long term, hence the need to look for other sources of revenue.