LRA Warns Public Officials
Authorities at the Liberia Revenue Authority (LRA) on Wednesday, April 7, 2021, have issued a warning statement to all appointed and elected officials to comply with the law by paying their real property taxes or risk losing several government benefits.
A circular signed by Thomas Doe Nah, Commissioner General of LRA and dated on March 30, 2021, says: “In furtherance of the LRA’s objective to assess, enforce and collect legitimate revenue for Liberia’s government and people, “we want to remind all appointed and elected officials and public sector employees of their obligation to pay Real Property taxes.”
This circular stands against the backdrop of the refusal of appointed and elected officials as well as ordinary property owners to abide by the revenue law of Liberia.
Most of the funds being disbursed by the government to pay civil servant salaries as well as settle financial liabilities by the government are raised by the LRA taxes they collect. But it has been observed that many people are not abiding by the law, hence the circular.
Despite repeated requests for compliance with Real Property tax obligations, many officials and public sector employees have reneged on this responsibility, the circular indicated.
The LRA Commissioner, however, disclosed to the Daily Observer via WhatsApp that the collection for last 2020, was 4.7 million, while the projection for 2021 is estimated at 5.239 million. Commissioner Nah also said that LRA has far collected 3.17 million.
Tax payment is a civic duty for all Liberians, including public officials and civil servants who, for the most part, also are paid their monthly salaries through these tax dollars.
“We, therefore, request the payment of all Real Property taxes on or before July 1, 2021,” LRA said.
The LRA says it will take certain remedial actions, including restriction of duty-free privileges, if officials and public sector employees fail to meet the July 1 deadline for compliance. If it gets to this point, LRA says it will also require a tax clearance certificate to restore said benefits.
LRA has also threatened to publish the names of delinquent public officials in both print and electronic media.
However, the LRA said, they have engaged the Liberia Anti-corruption Commission (LACC) so that tax receipts and tax clearance certificates related to taxable assets accompanying the declaration of assets to the LACC be made available to them.
“If delinquency persists, the LRA will not relent in pursuing discussions that will lead to other sanctions.
“Taxes are required to promote the Pro-poor Agenda for Prosperity and Development, pay salaries, and provide essential services, national security, among others. Whenever we pay our taxes, we support the success of the government we serve,” the circular said.