Four of the 15 counties have commended Liberia Revenue Authority (LRA) for creating awareness on tax payment, but rural dwellers that are paying the taxes are raising concerns about transparency in the exercise, because they feel the collection of government revenues have not been opened.
In a recent awareness campaign in Grand Gedeh, Grand Bassa, Nimba and Bong counties, rural dwellers lauded the LRA for the exercise because it provided all the necessary information about taxation.
However, they said while they are willing to pay their taxes, they want to see a “more transparent and genuine collection and usage of the taxes for development; not only centralized in Monrovia, but also decentralized for all to feel the impact.”
The recent LRA tax awareness is being implemented in conjunction with the Liberia Media Democratic Initiative (LMDI). It has covered Compound No.2, Grand Bassa County and Saclepea, Ganta and Negbein in Nimba County, attracting hundreds of citizens.
Besides areas covered in Nimba County, the exercise also covered Palala, Gbartala and Totota in Bong County.
The awareness is done through quizzing and debates with participants from Tax Clubs the LRA established to promote messages that have to encourage payment of taxes.
The project is sponsored by the Open Society Initiative for West Africa (OSIWA), and the campaign is a key component of the Student Tax Education Program (STEP) that is aimed at using schools to propagate tax related messages among students in rural communities.
LRA Commissioner-General Elfrieda Stewart Tamba, who launched the roadshow on April 2, described the campaign as a vital initiative geared towards strengthening domestic resource mobilization for the country.
“It is through tax education that we can harden voluntary compliance, and this remains a cogent part of our Corporate Strategic Plan,” Mrs. Tamba said.
In another development, the LRA has taken the message of taxation to the Legislature, informing the lawmakers what to do to be in compliance with paying their real estate taxes.
Darlingston Y. Talery, Commissioner of Domestic Tax Division, in his presentation, informed the lawmakers about the entity’s mandate to encourage Liberians to embrace the culture of paying taxes to finance the country’s development.
Commissioner Talery informed the lawmakers about their real property tax obligations under the law, the step-by-step procedures in paying these taxes and the kinds and categories of real property taxes, including residential, commercial as well as rural and urban properties.
He further explained the enforcement procedures of overdue taxes after due dates, and also provided enlightenment and rental income tax payments for those who are renters.
Meanwhile, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Bhofal Chambers welcomed the LRA awareness, noting that as indicated by law, every citizen is obliged to pay real estate property tax.
The Speaker described the LRA’s initiatives as brilliant and lauded the authority on behalf of the Legislature for the exercise.