Tax revolution in Sierra Leone: Banks aid revenue authority to recover tax debts

Sierra Leone’s National Revenue Authority (NRA) has written to all commercial banks stopping them from releasing funds from accounts of defaulting public offices.

The banks have also been instructed to remove money owed to NRA for outstanding Pay-As-You-Earn and Withholding Taxes.

It follows moves by the authority to clamp down on tax evaders by collecting all outstanding tax related debts from parastatals.

In Africa parastatal organizations possesses political clout and are separate from the government, but their activities serve the state, either directly or indirectly.

In December 2017, the authority vowed to go after parastatals who have not paid their taxes. The parastatals complained of not receiving their subventions on time. They also complain about the reliability of subventions saying the payments from the government are often not paid in full.

Some of these government offices say they use subvention funds to operate and cover expenses.

“As a tax authority we have to do our jobs. We are not responsible to spend these monies. We only collect. So, if we are collecting, you have to go and collect,” said Commissioner Ibrahim Sorie Kamara of the Domestic Tax Department.

“We have written to all commercial banks, as a third party recovery method, stopping them [public offices in tax arrears] from taking monies from their accounts.”

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