Business Environment

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In this page: Accounting Rules | Tax Rates | Intellectual Property | Legal Framework | Standards | Business Practices

 

Accounting Rules

Tax Year
The tax year is from 1 March to 28 February.
Accounting Standards

International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) are required for both domestic and foreign companies whose securities trade in a public market. IFRS are also required for publicly accountable entities and entities that represent the public interest, whether or not their securities are publicly traded. SMEs and entities without public accountability and that do not represent the public interest may choose between:

  • Full IFRS Standards
  • IFRS Standards for SMEs
  • The Eastern Central and Southern African Federation of Accountants Guide on Financial Reporting for Small and Medium-Sized Entities adopted as NAC001
Accounting Regulation Bodies
ICAN
Accounting Reports

Financial statements must include:

  • Statement of financial position
  • Statement of profit and loss and other comprehensive income
  • Statement of changes in equity
  • Statement of cash flows
  • Notes to financial statements
Publication Requirements
All public and publicly accountable companies (i.e. an entity that is economically significant on the basis of criteria such as total assets, total income, number of employees) are required to prepare financial statements pursuant to the Circular 1/2005 Status of Statements of Namibian Generally Accepted Accounting Practice (GAAP) in Relation to International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS).
Professional Accountancy Bodies
ICAN , Institute of Chartered Accountants of Namibia
Certification and Auditing
Pursuant to the Companies Act 2004, all companies must have their accounts audited, with the exception of interim financial statements, by auditors who are Chartered Accountants of ICAN and registered with the Public Accountants’ and Auditors’ Board (PAAB). Banks and other financial institutions are subject to the supervision of the Bank of Namibia (BoN) and must have their accounts audited annually by an auditor registered with the PAAB and approved by the BoN.
Accounting News

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Tax Rates

Consumption Taxes

Nature of the Tax
Value Added Tax (VAT)
Tax Rate
15%
Reduced Tax Rate
There are no reduced rates; however, certain items are zero-rated or exempt from VAT.
Zero-rated items include exports of goods and related services; international transport of passengers and goods and related services; certain supplies of goods that are used exclusively in an export country; services supplied outside Namibia and to foreign branches and head offices; certain basic foodstuffs; land to be used solely for residential accommodation purposes; goods or services to erect or extend a residential building; supply of a business capable of separate operation as a going concern (provided that all of the requirements are met); goods subject to the fuel levy; telecommunication services, electricity, water, refuse removal and sewerage to residential accounts; supply of livestock on the hoof; intellectual property for use outside Namibia; services to non-residents subject to certain provisions; goods or services to an export processing zone enterprise.

Exempted items include certain financial services; fare-paying public passenger transport; educational services; medical services provided by registered medical professionals; hospital services provided by registered hospitals; rental of residential accommodation; fringe benefits provided by an employer to employees; services supplied to members in the course of the management of a body corporate; supplies of goods or services to heads of state; supply of services by a trade union to or for the benefit of members if the supply is made from members’ contributions.

Other Consumption Taxes
Customs duties are payable on the importation of goods from non-Southern African Customs Union (SACU) countries. Rates generally vary between 0% and 30%.
Excise duties are payable on the following items: cigarettes, beer, spirits (whisky, rum, brandy, gin, vodka, etc.), petrol, diesel and biodiesel, illuminating kerosene, motor vehicles and perfumes.

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Corporate Taxes

Company Tax
32%
Tax Rate For Foreign Companies
Namibia has a source-based tax system, hence income earned by foreign companies from a source within or deemed to be within Namibia will be subject to tax in Namibia.
Foreign companies are subject to the same tax rates as local companies. However, they have to decide whether they want to register as a local company (subsidiary) or an external company (branch) if they have a place of business within the country. Permanent establishments are only taxed on their Namibia-source income.
Capital Gains Taxation

There is no capital gains tax in Namibia; however, income from certain capital transactions is subject to income tax, regardless of its capital nature. These transactions include:

  • income received or accrued from any transaction regarding a license or a right to mine minerals in Namibia, regardless of where the transaction is concluded, the place where payment for the transaction is made or the place where the funds from which payment is made are held
  • the direct or indirect sale of shares in a company that holds a license or has a right to mine minerals in Namibia
  • the sale or other disposal of petroleum rights/licenses or the direct or indirect sale of shares in a company that holds such rights/licenses.
Main Allowable Deductions and Tax Credits
A tax deduction is available for the cost of all tangible and intangible assets used by the taxpayer to generate income. No apportionment is allowed where an asset is held for less than 12 months. A construction allowance of 20% is available for buildings used to generate income in the year they are first brought into use, with an annual allowance of 4% deductible for the twenty following years. Eligible manufacturers can claim 20% of construction costs of the building in the year it is first brought into use and 8% for the ten following years.
Mine operators can claim a tax deduction for all exploration and development expenditure incurred prior to commencement of mining production.
The amortisation of goodwill is not deductible for tax purposes. Interest expenses incurred in the production of income are deductible. Bad debts are only deductible if they are not recoverable under any contract of insurance, guarantee, security, or indemnity. Charitable donations to registered welfare organisation or an approved educational institution are tax-deductible, whereas fines, penalties and tax on income are not deductible.
Tax losses can be carried forward indefinitely. Losses cannot be transferred to other members of a group. The carryback of losses is not permitted.
Other Corporate Taxes
Transfer duty is payable at 12% on the value of any property acquired in Namibia by a non-natural person (the rate decreases gradually for natural persons). It is generally payable by the buyer; however, the agreement for the sale of the property may determine the seller as the liable person.
Certain legal transactions are subject to stamp duty at varying rates: NAD 5 for agreements or contracts, 0.2% on the issue or transfer of marketable securities, 1.2% on the transfer of deed relating to immovable property. Additional stamp duty of NAD 5 for every NAD 1,000 of debt secured is payable on the registration of a bond over immovable property.
An annual duty is levied on the issued share capital of a company at an amount of NAD 6.5 per every NAD 10,000 (with a minimum duty of NAD 120 per year).
Social security contributions are split equally between the employers and employees. The share of employers amounts to 0.9% of earnings (minimum monthly contribution of NAD 2.70, maximum monthly contribution of NAD 81 each). Under the Employees Compensation Act, employers are also required to contribute to the Employees' Contribution Fund, which provides cash benefits for industrial injury, disability, and death. Rates vary from 1% to 8% according to the occupational risk (does not apply to employees who make more than NAD 81,300 per annum).
Other Domestic Resources
Namibia Revenue Agency
Consult Doing Business Website, to obtain a summary of the taxes and mandatory contributions.
 

Country Comparison For Corporate Taxation

  Namibia Sub-Saharan Africa United States Germany
Number of Payments of Taxes per Year 27.0 36.6 10.6 9.0
Time Taken For Administrative Formalities (Hours) 302.0 284.8 175.0 218.0
Total Share of Taxes (% of Profit) 20.7 47.3 36.6 48.8

Source: Doing Business - Latest available data.

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Individual Taxes

Tax Rate

Individual Income Tax Progressive rates up to 37%
NAD 0 - 50,000 0%
50,001 - 100,000 18%
100,001 - 300,000 9,000 + 25% on excess
300,001 - 500,000 59,000 + 28% on excess
500,001 - 800,000 115,000 + 30% on excess
800 001 - 1,500,000 205,000 + 32% on excess
Over 1,500,000 429,000 + 37% on excess
Interest income 10% when paid by a registered banking institution or unit trust scheme in Namibia; and on any interest paid by any person to a non-resident
Allowable Deductions and Tax Credits
There are no standard allowances for business expenses. Individuals have to prove their expenses (travel, entertainment, and motor vehicle expenses) were incurred to generate taxable income. Personal and mortgage expenses are not deductible. An employee may deduct contributions of up to NAD 40,000 per year to an approved pension, retirement annuity, provident, and educational policy fund registered in Namibia.
Special Expatriate Tax Regime
Namibia has a source-based tax system. Income derived or deemed to have derived from Namibian sources is subject to tax. Foreigners with income deriving from Namibian sources will therefore be subject to income tax, regardless of their residency. There is no general unilateral provision for relief from double taxation (except for royalties).
A withholding tax of 10% on services applies to any Namibian resident paying a management, consultancy, or entertainment fee to a non-resident.
Dividends declared by a Namibian company to a non-resident person will be subject to non-resident shareholders tax. The standard rate is 10% where a company holds more than 25% shares in the Namibian company. In all other cases, the tax is payable at 20%.

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Double Taxation Treaties

Countries With Whom a Double Taxation Treaty Have Been Signed
List of Double Taxation Agreements concluded by Namibia and withholding tax rates in force
Withholding Taxes
Dividends: 10% (if at least 25% of shares are held in the Namibian company and the shareholder is a company)/20%; Interests: 10% (except for payments made by the Government or a Namibian bank to a foreign bank); Royalties: 10%.
Bilateral Agreement
Namibia and Mauritius concluded a Double Taxation Agreement.

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Intellectual Property

National Organisations
Business and Intellectual Property Authority
Regional Organisations
Namibia is a member of the African Regional Intellectual Property Organization (ARIPO) and the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO).

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Legal Framework

Independence of Justice
The independence of the judiciary is guaranteed by the Article 78 of the Namibian Constitution. The Judiciary Act of 2005 created an independent body of the Judiciary, separating it from the Ministry of Justice. Prior to the establishment of the Act, the Ministry of Justice was responsible for providing support to the Judiciary. The Namibian judiciary has been constantly ranked among the freest in Sub-Saharan Africa by the World Economic Forum (Judicial Independence Index). In fact, it was ranked first in the region in 2017, ahead of South Africa.
Equal Treatment of Nationals and Foreigners
Equality before the law is guaranteed by the Article 10 of the Namibian Constitution whereas the right to fair trial is protected by the Article 12.
The Language of Justice
English
Recourse to an Interpreter
The Namibian Constitution permits the use of a language other than English for judicial purposes through legislation by Parliament (Article 3). Nevertheless, no initiative has been taken in this regard by the Namibian Parliament despite the linguistic diversity of the country (Oshiwambo, Nama, Afrikaans and German)
Sources of the Law and Legal Similarities
The Namibian legal system is characterised by legal pluralism. It is a mix of the Westminster-style Constitutional law, Roman-Dutch common law, customary law and international law. The legal system was largely shaped by the South African rule between 1915 and 1989 and has not been modified extensively since Namibia gained independence. The German rule from 1884 to 1915 did not leave significant traces in the legal system.
Checking National Laws Online
Legal Database - The Namibian Parliament
Namibia Law

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Standards

National Standards Organisations
NSI, Namibian Standards Institution
Integration in the International Standards Network
NSI is a full member of the International Organisation for Standardisation (ISO) and subscribes to the World Trade Organization /Technical Barriers to Trade (WTO)/TBT Annex 3 Code of Good Practice for the Preparation, Adoption and Application of Standards.
Classification of Standards
Namibia's standards regime consists of compulsory and voluntary standards. Under the Standards Act 2005, the Minister of Economic Affairs has the power to declare any standard regulation compulsory for a commodity or service. NSI Standards are compulsory for fishery products and all fish exports have to carry the NSI label.
Online Consultation of Standards
The list of certified products and standards can be consulted here.
Certification Organisations
NSI Namibian Standards Institution

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Business Practices

General Information
Opening Hours and Days
Typical business hours are 08:00-17:00 - Monday to Friday - for offices. Banks are usually open between 09:00 and 15:30 Monday to Friday and between 08:30-12:00 on Saturday.
 

Public Holidays

1 January New Years Day
21 March Independence Day
30 March (Friday before Easter) Good Friday
2 April Easter Monday
1 May Workers Day
4 May Cassinga Day
10 May Ascension Day
25 May Africa Day
26 August Heroes' Day
10 December Human Rights Day/ Women's Day
25 December Christmas
26 December Family Day
 
Holiday Compensation
 If a public holiday falls on a non-work day, Saturday or Sunday, the following Monday is substituted as a public holiday.
 

Periods When Companies Usually Close

Closure for Easter End of March - Early April
Closure for Christmas End of December
 

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Latest Update: July 2022