Lawmakers in the House of Representatives have been reminded to pay their real property and other applicable taxes in line with new election laws.
In a letter to the House, the Liberia Revenue Authority (LRA) informed the lawmakers that the real property tax payment season has commenced and runs from January 1– July 2, 2017.
The LRA’s information is in consonance with Article 30 (b) of the 1986 Constitution that compels citizens to honor their tax obligations, as the New Election and LRA Laws have indicated.
According to Article 30 of the Constitution, “Citizens of Liberia who meet the following qualifications are eligible to become members of the Legislature: a) for the Senate, have attained the age of 30 years and for the House of Representatives, have attained the age of 25 years; b) be domiciled in the country or constituency to be represented not less than one year prior to the time of the election and be a taxpayer.”
LRA Commissioner General Elfrieda S. Tamba’s letter said: “We humbly request all members of the august body that have not complied for prior periods to please prioritize (given their very busy schedule) the registration of your property (s) and payment of the applicable lawful taxes, for both the prior and current periods within the statutory timeframe.
“Also given that this is an election year, we request your approval to establish a special purpose Taxpayer Service Booth to facilitate compliance by the Legislators. A focal person from the Real Estate Tax Division of the Domestic Tax Department will be available to answer all inquiries.”
Incumbent lawmakers who are seeking reelection as well aspirants are obligated to produce their Real Property Tax receipts or certificates to the National Elections Commission (NEC) to qualify to contest the election. “The NEC and LRA are collaborating to ensure that these Real Property Tax receipts or certificates are factual,” said an executive member of the LRA.
An LRA staff who begged anonymity said several lawmakers owed over US$300,000 in real property taxes, including current tax obligations.
Meanwhile, about 67 lawmakers are seeking reelection and over 150 citizens are contesting for Liberia’s 73 electoral districts, whereas 24 individuals are running for President of Liberia.