By Kruah Thompson (Intern)
The Liberian Revenue Authority (LRA) and the Liberia Electricity Corporation (LEC) have agreed to partner in collecting real estate taxes and LEC bills.
Daniel Ankrah, senior communication officer (LRA) says for the ideals to work 100 percent, there must be an understandable collaboration between both institutions that derive an effective plan and promote effective service delivery.
“If you pay your real property taxes, you’re supposed to pay your LEC bills, meaning, they both rely hugely on each other”, he says.
Speaking on the Super Morning Show hosted by state radio (ELBC FM 99.9) in Paynesville, he indicated that if a customer lives in a rental house and only pays LEC bills instead of the home, the LEC will share such information with the LRA and through that, both institutions will be able to share data which will help smooth the process of revenue collection as well as fight power theft.
He says the first approach is to enlist all properties that are not within LRA data base.
After collecting the data, Daniel explains, the next thing is to run after those included within the data to pay both their real property taxes and LEC bills.
He says they will make sure all those benefiting from the LEC grill are in compliance with their real estate tax payment as well.
He discloses the LRA has currently published names of properties and reached out to those property owners but they have blindly refused to pay their real property taxes, saying, “For some, their owners cannot be found.”
He notes that some of the property owners cannot be found but people are using them, and taxes should be paid on those properties.
Meanwhile, after August 31, 2021, the Ministry of Justice along with the LRA will carry out enforcement on those names.
Daniel emphasizes that if the true property owners cannot go to the LRA to discuss payment, those properties will be closed for some time, adding that after several months if payment is still not made, a tax agent will be sent to do a full closure.
According to the manager for media and public affairs at LRA, Varfee Holmes, the issue of tax evasion is one of the major problems LRA has been dealing with under its tax regime.
He also reveals LRA is working with the National Housing Authority to include property that has been either mortgaged or houses that government has sole to occupants as a result of this process.
Still on the question of abandoned property, he says there are mechanisms in place to investigate before labeling or declaring a property abandoned, adding that even with that they will have to do everything within the confines of the law before going to the Ministry of Justice to take such action.
Holmes notes that when the current administration took office, the total revenue collected was around US$400 plus million.
He says now total revenue collected is at US$532,181.00, adding that LRA’s target is to reach US$100 billion by the end of this administration.
“That tells you that there’s a steady increase in revenue generation.”
The communications, media, and public affairs section of the Liberia Revenue Authority on Friday held a discussion with partner radio stations aimed at fostering collaboration
The meeting, among other things, highlighted the important role of the media in promoting tax education to support revenue collection.
Holmes stressed the need for partner stations to ensure quality service delivery at all times. https://thenewdawnliberia.com/lra-to-cement-partnership-with-regional-tax-institute/Editing by Jonathan Browne