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MBABANE – With some companies facing the wrath of ERS on tax evasion, cases of tax appeal have increased exponetially.

The appeals tribunal wants companies to submit any tax-related issues they have with the collector before they reach the High Court. The Revenue Appeals Tribunal of Eswatini (RATE) said companies could not submit matters to the tribunal after a decision had been made by the High Court. RATE did not reveal how many cases they have recived so far due to ethical reseason but cited that the number rose in the currently financial year.This was mentioned by the Registrar of RATE, Nelisiwe Hlophe, who urged companies to apply through their website or offices. She said the tribunal could not overturn a decision made by the High Court; therefore, it was advisable for companies to approach them before Eswatini Revenue Services (ERS) takes the matter forward. “Matters of tax are first heard by the ERS; if the decision is unsatisfactory, they are then heard by the tribunal before the High Court, then Supreme Court,” she added. RATE was established by the Revenue Appeals Tribunal Act No. 13 of 2019. Its main purpose is to deal with tax-related issues between the taxpayer and collector.


The registrar said that from the business perspective, it was not about merely providing for such a right of appeal but expediently finalising the appeal as tax payments were usually not suspended pending appeal. She said this appellate structure in the tax sphere had been established to preside over and determine any tax appeal over the assessment, determination, and/or tax ruling of the commissioner general, in a just, expeditious and economical way. “Without a higher structure or mechanism to preside over and determine the correct interpretation and application of any tax law on appeal, the relationship between the two equally important stakeholders, the taxpayer (businesspeople) and tax regulator (ERS), would easily descend to acrimony and lead to the unnecessary demonisation of the tax collection process,” she said.

Hlophe added that RATE had jurisdiction to hear and determine an appeal arising from an assessment, decision, ruling, determination, or direction of the commissioner general under any revenue law. She said they had started receiving applications from some companies and were looking into them. She said any other matter, as may be prescribed by the minister by notice in the Gazette, was to be a matter against which an appeal may be made under the Revenue Appeals Tribunal Act 2019. The registrar also mentioned that a business dissatisfied or aggrieved with the decision of the commissioner general relating to assessments, directions, or determinations had a right to make an appeal against this decision with the tribunal.


She added that in the previous dispensation, the right of appeal was previously provided to an aggrieved taxpayer at the High Court in mainstream litigation. However, matters in mainline litigation inevitably delay owing to the rigid and strict rules of procedure to which judges are bound. “A taxpayer who is not satisfied by any assessment, demand notice, ruling, or decision by the commissioner general on any of the revenue laws administered by the Eswatini Revenue Service may appeal to the tribunal within a period of 30 days of receipt of the commissioner general’s decision or notice of assessment,” said the registrar. Meanwhile, ERS approached the High Court for endorsement of writs of execution against 37 companies, which allegedly owe the taxman millions of Emalangeni.

A writ of execution is an order that puts into force a judgement of possession and directs law enforcement personnel to begin the transfer of property as a result of a legal judgement.
Property may include assets, money, or real property. Consolidated Contractors International, which owes E22 607 373.56, Nagra Motors, which owes E9 905 263.16, and Jabulani Hlophe, who owes E9 794 759.19, are among those who allegedly owe millions of Emalangeni. In the writs of execution, prominent businesses include Siteki Hotel, which allegedly owes E2 042 544.13, Jazeera Motors (E3 828 442.56), Bread Boys (E5 903 702.13) and Speedy Overborder Service (891 252.84). Others are; Africa South Architects (E193 688.13). Notably, one of the businesses that purportedly owes ERS is a grocery store, which allegedly owes the tax collector a sum of E2 134 178.26. The total amount allegedly owed by the companies is E101 826 762.94.

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