With the aim to improving tax collection and keeping taxpayers informed about latest development in the taxation sector, the National Revenue Authority (NRA), with support from the Open Society Initiative for West Africa (OSIWA), last Thursday, June 28, engaged taxpayers in Bo District on tax compliance.
On Friday, 4th May, at the Buxton Hall in Freetown, NRA and OSIWA officially launched the tax compliance sensitisation campaign with the aim to improving tax compliance in the country through stakeholder engagement.
Speaking during the well-attended engagement at Sahara Hotel Conference Hall in Bo City, the outgone NRA Manager of Domestic Tax Department in Bo District, Ishmael Kamara, said over the years it was reported that tax compliance in that part of the country was too poor and that the area contributed little to the target of NRA.
He said that when he took over as Collector in the district, he engaged taxpayers in that part of the country and that the engagement was fruitful because he had been collecting four times what the past Collector used to collect in the past years.
In his presentation, Assistant Commissioner of Small and Medium Taxpayers, Shiaka Samuka Kamara, said that government needs funds to enable them achieve their mandates, especially the new administration's free education agenda.
He said the purpose of the engagement with business people in that part of the country was to discuss development and challenges in the tax sector and to also inform them about their obligations as taxpayers.
He said the engagement also gave taxpayers the opportunity to share their challenges with the commission for appropriate actions to be taken to address them.
He said the one day engagement was mainly on tax compliance and that the commission would be doing similar engagements in other districts across the country.
He said taxpayers have four responsibilities, including registration of their businesses with the Registrar General's Officer and with the National Revenue Authority, filling of their returns to the commission, including their estimated profit of the year and total profit made at the end of every year.
He said business people should also ensure that they submit their goods and services tax returns, pay-as-you-earn (PAYE), accurately report taxes that would inform the commission about the total money their businesses made for the year.
He told taxpayers that there have been changes in the Financial Act of 2018, disclosing that churches, schools, mosques and other institutions that had tax exemption should now pay taxes because they have business(s) that are competing with others.
He said the previous Acts had stipulated that whenever somebody rents a property for an amount of Three Million Leones, the landlord should pay a tax to the commission.
He encouraged business people to register with the Goods and Services Tax Department and ensure they comply with the taxation laws.
He also informed them about the penalties should they fail to comply with the law.
The new Manager of Domestic Tax Department in Bo District, Alex Mambu, said the commission's engagement with tax payers was timely and promised to take tax administration to where his predecessor stopped and improve on tax collection.