President of the Sierra Leone Association of Journalists (SLAJ) Umaru Fofanah has said SLAJ will not defend any press house that evades tax payments.
He told reporters at the Kimbima hotel in two day training on the tax administration of the National Revenue Authority (NRA) with the theme:’ collective responsibility for revenue mobilization and national development’.
President Fofanah added that if people expect government to perform then people must pay their taxes correctly and regularly, citing that United Kingdom (UK) does not have diamond or gold but they rely on taxes.
He urged all press houses not to default the laws of NRA, as tax evasion is a crime.
Commissioner General of NRA Alieu Sesay said that, because they believed the media plays a pivotal role in the development of this country that was why they engaged them to know about how taxes are collected, penalty levied and mechanism put in place by the authority in terms of modernization.
Acting Commissioner of Income Tax Department Ibrahim Sorie Kamara said that NRA has its objectives to sensitize its tax payers and non tax payers about how taxes are collected and how they could meet their obligations.
Giving an overview of NRA mandate, structure, relationship Abdulai Cham said that the authority was established by an Act of Parliament in 2002 for the purposes set out in section 12 of the Act.
He noted that, NRA is a corporate body with perpetual succession, which has the power to acquire, hold and dispose
of property whether movable or immovable; it can sue and be sued in its own name and can enter int o contract in its own name.
Cham also observed that the primary motive for the formation of the authority is to strengthen the assessment and collection of the national revenue and the administration and enforcement of the laws relating to the national revenue.
He stated that the authority is mandated to administer and enforce the laws set out in the schedule; to make recommendation to government for amendments and other improvements in the laws specified in the schedule; to advise government on matters of policy relating to revenue, whether or not arising from law referred to in the schedule and to initiate, develop and sustain programmes for public education on the need for the payment of taxes and the consequences for non- payment and evasion of taxes.
In his presentation on the operations and procedures of income tax department, Shiaka Kamara stated that taxes administered by his department are income tax; payroll tax; foreign travel –ticket tax; entertainment tax; restaurant and food tax; external telecommunications tax and bed tax.
Explaining how to pay income tax, he noted that tax can be paid in four equal installments during the year by the following dates: on or before March 15; on or before June 15; on or before September 15 and on or before December 15.
He disclosed modes of payment of taxes can be in cash, bank draft, and guaranteed cheque and make payment at various NRA offices in town.
Presentation on customs and excise – operations, regulations and Automated System for Customs and Data (ASYCUDA) and also the role of the media in revenue mobilization was done.