Corporate - Group taxation

Last reviewed - 24 January 2020

There are no concessions for group taxation, other than for wholly-owned subsidiary companies of the Botswana Development Corporation Limited (BDC).

BDC was established in 1970 to be the country's main agency for commercial and industrial development. The government of Botswana owns 100% of the issued share capital of the Corporation.

Where in any tax year a wholly owned subsidiary of BDC has incurred any assessed loss, such member may, during the current tax year, by notice in writing to the Commissioner General, elect that the whole or part of such assessed loss shall be deducted in ascertaining the chargeable income of one or more of the other wholly owned subsidiaries.

Transfer pricing

Botswana currently does not have any transfer pricing regulations, so transfer pricing is currently monitored through the anti-avoidance provisions contained in Section 36 of the Income Tax Act.

The arm’s-length principle should always be followed in transactions between related parties. If such transactions have created rights or obligations that would not normally be created between independent persons dealing at arm’s length, the Commissioner General may determine the liability in such manner as deemed appropriate. However, related party balances arising out of normal trading transactions (e.g. credit purchases with a 30 day credit period) would not be subjected to these provisions.

Interest (at prime rate) should be charged/provided on loans from shareholders/amounts due to related parties. If no interest has been charged/provided, in terms of the close company legislation, the BURS may deem interest at the prime rate prevailing at the beginning of the tax year, as income in the hands of the lender without allowing the corresponding interest as a charge against the profits of the borrower. The borrower is obligated to deduct WHT at the prevailing rate on the deemed interest.

Amounts due from shareholders/directors may be deemed as dividend income and shall form part of the taxable income of the borrower, in which event these will be taxed at the prevailing dividend WHT rate in the hands of the borrower.

Thin capitalisation

Thin capitalisation rules can be found in the Income Tax Act, but only in relation to mining companies and IFSC companies.

Where a foreign controlled resident mining company has a foreign debt-to-equity ratio in excess of 3:1 at any time during the year of assessment, the amount of interest paid by the resident company during that year on that part of the debt that exceeds the ratio shall be disallowed as a deduction, and the amount so disallowed shall be treated and taxed as a dividend.

In case of an IFSC company, where an amount of foreign debt interest is allowable as a deduction in a particular tax year and, at any time during that tax year, the total foreign debt exceeds the foreign equity product for that year, then the amount of foreign debt interest ascertained in accordance with the following formula will be disallowed:

I x (A/B) x (C/365)

A = amount of the excess of the total foreign debt over the foreign equity product.

B = the total foreign debt.

C = the number of days in that tax year during which the total foreign debt exceeded the foreign equity product by that amount.

I = the foreign debt interest.

Controlled foreign companies (CFCs)

There are no CFC rules in Botswana.