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The refund must be paid within two months after the month end date of filing a return showing an excess of input tax over output tax, and the amount claimed must be verified as correct.

If the registered person is engaged mainly in export activities or is defined as a VAT manufacturing warehouse or an international financial services centre company, the VAT refund claim must be processed within one month from the month end date of filing the return.

Failure to refund the amount due within the prescribed period will make the Commissioner General liable for interest at 1% per month for the period the refund was overdue. Excess input tax may also be offset against the person’s other tax liabilities (e.g. income tax).

Objections and appeals

Objections and appeals may be submitted where persons wish to dispute a decision of the VAT administration. Objections should be addressed to the Commissioner General, contain the specific grounds of objection and should be made within 30 days of the assessment.

Time limits

The maximum period for claiming input tax is as follows:

  • where a person’s tax period is a period of one month – up to the next three tax periods;

  • where a person’s tax period is a period of two months – in the next tax period; and

  • where a person has paid VAT irrespective of any imports of goods

    • in the next tax period.



VAT records

Tax invoices

No input tax may be claimed unless the claim is supported by a tax invoice. Only VAT-registered persons may issue tax invoices. The following particulars must appear on a tax invoice:

  • the words ‘Tax Invoice’ must be displayed prominently;

  • date of issue;

  • serial number;

  • name, address and VAT registration numbers of supplier and recipient;

Credit notes and debit notes

Tax credit and tax debit notes must also be issued and be clearly designated as such, providing much the same detail as for a tax invoice, where a supplementary charge is made or when a reduction in the amount charged or due is agreed between a seller and a buyer.

In addition, the credit or debit note must contain the reason(s) for issuing, reference to the previous invoice now being corrected and the words ‘Tax Debit Note’ or ‘Tax Credit Note’ in a prominent place on the document.

clear description of goods or services supplied, including quantity and volume; and

consideration for the supply, the VAT due and the consideration including the VAT.

Additional export documentation

The normal customs documentation forms (SAD 500), invoice, etc. should be stamped by the Department of Customs for proof of export.

No tax invoices are required for a supply made in cash for less than 20 Botswana Pula. Tax invoices may be in either English or Setswana.

Record keeping

A registered person must maintain the following records in Botswana, in the English or Setswana language –

original tax invoices, tax credit notes and tax debit notes received;

copies of all tax invoices, tax credit notes and tax debit notes issued;

customs documentation relating to imports and exports;

Where a taxable supply has been made by a person as an agent for another person and the recipient of the supply is a registered person, the agent may issue a tax invoice in relation to the supply as if the agent had made the supply.

Where a taxable supply has been made to a person as an agent of the principal and the principal is a registered person, a tax invoice in relation to the supply may be issued to the agent, at his request.

Where any amount is expressed in a currency other than Botswana Pula, the amount will be converted to Pula at the exchange rate applying between the currency and the Pula at the time the amount is taken into account.

  • accounting records; and

  • any other records as may be prescribed by the Commissioner General.

The records must be retained for at least seven years after the end of the tax period to which they relate.

Failure to maintain proper records constitutes an offence. On conviction, the person may be liable to a fine or imprisonment.

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