7 August 2017

Liberia: Tax Payment Should Not Be a One-Way Street, LRA

editorial

IT MUST BE GIVEN TO the Liberia Revenue Authority.

The revenue collecting arm of the government really does know how to encourage Liberians and foreigner residents alike to pay their fair share of the taxes.

ACROSS THE COUNTRY, GLITZY billboards are mounted with messages of encouragement on what taxes could do in the rebuilding efforts of Liberia.

AT AN ELABORATE CEREMONY HELD last month at the Monrovia City Hall, the LRA honored and certificated 33 companies, local businesses, institutions and individuals for being tax compliant and major contributors to the country's revenue collection.

THE EVENT WAS THE FIRST-EVER Taxpayer Appreciation Day in the country under the regime of the LRA, which commenced operations on July 1, 2014. The event was intended to recognize and appreciate taxpayers based on two underlining considerations: tax contribution and tax compliance.

THE 33 AWARDEES INCLUDING LONESTAR Cell MTN, Orange Liberia, and Monrovia Club Breweries were awarded the Gold, Silver and Bronze prizes while Passion Hotel in Bong County, Jungle Water Group of Companies of Nimba, among others, received awards under the two core business areas of Domestic Tax and Customs.

THE AWARDS, GIVEN IN THE SUBCATEGORIES of Large Tax, Medium Tax, Small Tax, Petty Trader, Real Property, and highest taxpayers for counties, covered tax payment records of the Fiscal Year 2015-2016.

TO WHOM MUCH IS GIVEN, much is expected. Amid these welcoming developments being undertaken, the Liberia Revenue Authority has fallen short in one key area also: encouraging taxpayers to file tax returns.

IT'S A NOBLE THING FOR EVERYONE to pay taxes. For if Liberia is to be developed and our Agenda for Transformation to be heralded, we must contribute our fair share in that effort.

HOWEVER, IT IS ALSO EQUALLY and much more important for the Liberian Revenue Authority to make taxpayers aware that they can reap the dividends from their taxes paid, especially for income tax payers.

THE REVENUE CODE CALLS FOR TAXPAYERS to file their tax returns; and though ignorance of the law is no excuse, not many Liberians are aware of this part of the revenue law.

FILING TAXES IS STILL A NOVELTY in Liberia where the unemployment rate is high as the exchange rate between the Liberian Dollars and its U.S. counterpart. The struggle to pay those taxes is real, not imagined.

AS IT HAS MOUNTED A VIGOROUS campaign to encourage tax payment, the LRA should also engage in a similar feat to educate taxpayers about tax returns and the filing of one thereof.

AFTER THE SUCCESSFUL END OF A FINANCIAL year, the LRA should call and encourage those who have paid all of their taxes to file their tax return and benefit what is justifiably theirs.

THIS, WE BELIEVE, WOULD ALSO encourage those who are hoarders to begin to pay their taxes. It should never be a one-way street where only the LRA and by extension the Government of Liberia, get to benefit from the toil of taxpayers.

Liberia

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