Meet Mercy Kuzeeko

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A legal practitioner specialising in taxation and liquidation, Ms. Kuzeeko started her professional career as a trainee in the PwC Tax Academy in Cape Town in 2011.

Completing her traineeship in international and corporate tax in 2012, she moved back home to Windhoek in 2013 and joined Deloitte Namibia as a tax consultant.

In 2016 Ms. Kuzeeko joined Dr Weder, Kauta & Hoveka Inc to do her law articles and was admitted as a legal practitioner of the high court of Namibia in July 2017.

Dr Weder, Kauta & Hoveka Incorporated specialises in litigation, labour law, commercial law, corporate law, tax law and conveyancing.  The Firm is widely respected and recognised for its professionalism and excellence in service provision.

During 2018 she obtained a PG Diploma in Insolvency Litigation and Administration Practice from the University of Pretoria and is now on the Master of High Court list of persons suitable for appointment as liquidator or trustee.

Namibia has a source-based tax system, which means that income from a source within Namibia or deemed to be within Namibia will be subject to tax in Namibia, unless a specific exemption is available

“I chose to specialise during my final year of law mainly because in addition to the law aspect it carried with it a commercial element and I did my Masters in taxation at the university of Cape Town”, she explains.

Ms. Kuzeeko’s experience in her chosen career field and specialisation has been both challenging and rewarding.  “Our focus is to provide exceptional client services and to add value to our clients.

“We provide tax advisory services to a portfolio of corporates, listed and medium sized clients on a wide range of tax issues, engage with NAMRA relating to assessments i.e. objections, request for reasons, applications for waiver of interest and penalties and drafting responses to queries raised by NAMRA”.

The biggest challenge she experiences, however, is ineffective tax administration. Tax administrations implement tax law. Their main task is to deal with taxpayers and collect the right amount of tax. The most significant taxes governed by national laws are Value Added Tax (VAT), Corporate Income Tax and Personal Income Tax.

Tax returns are not always processed timeously and promptly and there is often undue delay in the assessment of tax liabilities.

The manner in which taxes are administered has a direct impact on the business operations of taxpayers. An efficient tax administration process should address the challenges in the tax administration process for the benefit of both the tax authority and the taxpayers.

On the issue of how the evolution towards green energy affects the business of law practice, Ms. Kuzeeko explains that Government determines the national policies.

Further she explains that the promotion of green energy would not on paper have any tax implications – the current tax legislation should, in principle, be able to cater for the taxation of income from green energy. Government may in its policy making, take into account the regime that must apply to green energy as well as incentives if any.

There can therefore only be a change if Government aligns the tax policies with its national green energy policy.

Currently, however, there are a few incentives which include exemptions of solar panels, wind turbines and batteries from import duties.

“Our tax services (at WKH) are not specific to green energy – we render general tax services and have capacity to advise on green energy projects,” she clarifies.

Tax professionals/legal experts can assist Government in drafting regulatory and fiscal policy documents aimed at encouraging investments in green energy. This can also be achieved with a Due Diligence Exercise – investments in green energy will continue to grow and tax and legal professionals will be required to do due diligence exercise on potential investments.

Ms. Kuzeeko looks back on the longest lasting matter she has dealt with, which it relates to VAT objections launched on behalf of a group of companies against the disallowance of VAT deductions by NAMRA; which matter is still ongoing.

How does one withstand the challenging and no doubt stressful lifestyle of a Tax Attorney, while maintaining balance and one’s sanity?

Well, Ms. Kuzeeko runs.  “Serial not so much – just a runner. I took up running while at university and it has been and remains a great way to remain active. Runner’s high is real,” she says smilingly. And what about a holiday? She would love to do a destination holiday anywhere in the Caribbean, where she would lounge and enjoy any meal with mushrooms and chickpeas.

After having enjoyed a run and a meal, she would laze and either binge of her favourite TV show, Boston Legal, or one of her much loved fictional stories, or perhaps read up on the latest law reports or (auto) biographies.

A healthy work-life balance refers to maintaining a harmonious relationship between your work and personal life. It involves consciously managing your time and energy to meet both professional and personal commitments while prioritising self-care and well-being.

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It would appear that the illustrious Ms. Kuzeeko has succeeded not only in the highest of qualifications, but has also found the magic of walking the tightrope of balancing her work and her mental and physical health, proving that you can have your cake and eat it, too!

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