LAST SATURDAY, A new body, the Liberian Institute of Tax Practitioners (LITP) aimed at disseminating Tax Education in a clear and concise manner in order to encourage compliance and limit to a significant extent the unnecessary fights and disagreements that usually ensue between Tax Administrators, Tax Practitioners and Tax payers, largely due to ignorance of the law, lack of sufficient knowledge, misinterpretation of the tax law, and in some instances outright dishonesty was formed with the induction of its corps of officers.
AT THE INDUCTION ceremony, the President of the LITP, Mr. Theophilus D. Joseph, said the main focus at the newly organized Liberian Institute of Tax Practitioners (LITP) is to bridge the gaps in the roles played by the Tax Administrators, Tax Practitioners and Tax Payers in the tax regime, in order to foster a cordial relationship among the three players to promote a robust tax system which will eventually lead to increased revenue generation for the Government and people of Liberia.
MR. JOSEPH SAID the Liberian Institute of Tax Practitioners (LITP) was organized and established mainly to regulate activities of Tax Practitioners and ensure that the services rendered by these tax practitioners are of the best quality, with regards to the ethics of the profession and in line with their moral duties and obligations to the clients that they serve and above all to their Government and country.
LIBERIA'S FINANCE MINISTER, Amara Konneh, delivering the keynote address at the induction ceremony underscored the importance of paying taxes and called on Liberians not to consider the process as an act of charity or kindness, but rather a statutory duty to build their country. Minister Konneh said he believes that Liberians who willingly fulfill that duty (of paying taxes) have a deep understanding that they are, in fact, contributing to something bigger than themselves because they are contributing to the building of a great nation.
MINISTER KONNEH SAID taxation is not just Government withholding hard earned money from citizens or businesses, but that it's an opportunity for citizens to invest in building the kind of society they want to live in. According to him, paying taxes is also a chance for each business entity to invest in growing the kind of economy they want to operate in, now and in the future.
HE ACKNOWLEDGED THAT while it's true people are still trying to rebuild confidence in Government, even as it continues to institute reforms in public financial management and other governance areas, he cautioned that paying taxes is not just about capturing revenue or building roads and bridges or laying electricity transmission lines, or building a hydro, but it's "about being able to look at our children and grandchildren, and being able to say that, when we had the chance, we laid the foundation to make them healthy, happy and prosperous."
THE FINANCE MINISTER cautioned that each citizen has a clear choice of whether or not to pay taxes. "And each person's, each company's choice has consequences that we will all have to live with for decades to come. That is why the LITP's role is so critical. Tax practitioners are nation builders in their own right, because they encourage and support citizens, residents and businesses to contribute their rightful share to our development effort," he said.
AT A TIME that Liberia needs all the requisite professional groupings to push its developmental agenda, the formation of the LITP is a welcome idea which must be cherished by all who truly want to see the full transformation of the country in terms of its developmental goals. This is why we welcome this new initiative though new to our country and people.
IT IS OUR hope that with the formation of this group to educate Liberians relative to the payment of taxes, government will truly use taxes collected for the development of our country both infrastructural wise and the upliftment of the country and human resources. Taxes paid for development purpose must be used for such purpose and initiate concrete projects that will benefit generations unborn and not one that will last for few years as we are seeing the areas such as road constructions and other sphere of the country developmental agenda.
THE PEOPLES' TAXES must surely be used on solid, tangible and concrete projects that will go a long way in bringing relief and social economic benefits to them. Indeed taxes must be used wisely thus we challenge the LITP to go a step further in ensuring that these taxes are properly used and not only to disseminate information but that which will motivate people to be tax-compliant.