The Liberia Revenue Authority (LRA), backed by the Tax Court on Monday, shut the doors of several non-compliant taxpayers for their failure to pay their taxes for the period 2010-2015.
According to a press release, the non-compliant taxpayers who were affected in this drive were Musu’s Spot in Congo Town, the Jessie Payne Property (Golden Beach Hotel) in Sinkor as well as the Victoria Estate on Bushrod Island (Mesurado Compound).
The Victoria Prall Property on Broad Street, Richard Divine Property in Sinkor and Yomen Daryou property on Broad Street were spared from closure when they made immediate partial payments to the General Revenue Account in line with the revenue tax laws and presented receipts to the enforcement team.
The compliance enforcement drive, according to the Real Estate Division Tax Enforcement Manager, H. Bashelu Kromah, is intended to compel delinquent tax payers into compliance with the Revenue Code of Liberia.
The LRA obtained closure orders from the Tax Court at the Temple of Justice in Monrovia to shut the doors of the premises after all legal efforts to have them pay their taxes failed.
The premises were closed for the purpose of examination of taxpayer records, audit and provision of advice to the taxpayers concerning compliance with tax obligations.
The LRA served each of the entities their assessment notice, a notice of determination which became final after 30 days and a 72-hour warning notice in keeping with sections 1042(d) and 70 of the Liberia Revenue Code and LRA regulations, before proceeding to the tax court for the closure orders.
Delinquent tax payers who fail to settle their obligations after the temporary seven-day closure will face further legal actions tantamount to forfeiting their properties to government to recover the appropriate taxes due.
Assistant Commissioner Lasana Kromah said the LRA will have no sympathy in dealing with legal and natural persons who refuse to pay taxes as required by law and appealed to the public to comply with the Revenue Code of Liberia.
Mr. Kromah further said that all real property owners – both residential and commercial – must pay their real estate taxes between January 1 and June 30 each year, noting that Residential property tax rate is 1/12 percent (0. 00083) multiplied by the property value, while Commercial property tax rate is 1.5 percent (0.015) multiplied by the property value.
This suggests that if the value of the residential property is US$ 10,000 (ten thousand), the annual real estate tax is US$8.30 (Eight dollars, thirty cents USD), while commercial property at the same value is taxed at US$150.00 (One hundred & fifty USD) annually.
He said those who do not pay on or before June 30th of each year are liable to pay along with penalties and fines.
Meanwhile, the LRA is urging owners and or caretakers of real properties in and around Monrovia to contact the Real Estate Tax Division of the LRA to make settlement to avoid embarrassment.