The Gambia Revenue Authority (GRA), has conducted a daylong intensive training for the nations' legal practitioners, with the ultimate aim of widening their horizon on the tax laws of the country.
Speaking at the event, Ebrima Sallah, Senior Legal Officer at GRA said the seminar aims to engage members of the Bar Association and to boost the relation between the two entities in ensuring effective taxation and tax compliance in revenue mobilization and administration, in line with the tax laws of the country.
Rachel Y Mendy, President of Gambia Bar Association (GBA), thanked the GRA management for the training and guidance through the essentials and procedure in filling annual returns and tax payments, as well as the likely consequences for failing to do so.
Mendy said at the end of the training, they hope to fully and clearly comprehend the tax system of the country; that they will in turn share their expertise to make the tax authority understand that collecting more tax for revenue increment, should not be a burden on taxpayers. "We expect at the end of the training, to better understand the taxation process and administration. I would therefore encourage all my colleagues to participate fully in this discussion, because our views and setbacks are very important," she said.
Yankuba Darboe, GRA Commissioner General, said the seminar was made possible through the collective efforts of the GRA and GBA for the solidification of their collaboration; that the more there is collaboration between tax officers and taxpayers, the more compliant the entire system becomes. Thus the seminar is the practical implementation of their engagement with the professional category of taxpayers, with the objective of simplifying the tax codes for them.
"Over the years, we have had difficulties regarding tax compliance from some members of the legal profession. There are some members of the legal profession who have not made filed in their tax returns for years. Some under-report their income and some are unable to fulfill their tax obligations. On few occasions, we have been compelled to seal the offices of some members of the Bar, for their inability to fulfill their tax obligations," he said.
He expressed the hope that the seminar will demystify the tax codes for all participants, so that they will receive less issues relating to non-compliance, based on their ignorance of the tax system. Darboe said the GRA is mandated by its principal Act and other revenue laws, with the aim of collecting all revenue due to Government, and remitting same in the Consolidated Revenue Fund. He concluded that the Authority's tax system is a self-assessment regime; that the taxpayer is given discretion to determine his or her income, disclose same to the tax authority and pay their fair share of tax as determined by the Executive, as legislated by the National Assembly.