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NRA to introduce e-filing system on tax returns

May 30, 2016 By Jariatu S. Bangura

As Parliament discussed the filing of income tax returns, the Commissioner of Income Tax Department at the National Revenue Authority, Ibrahim Sorie Kamara has informed members of the Parliamentary Committee on Finance that they were on the verge of launching the domestic tax information system or electronic filing system on tax returns.

Commissioner Kamara said the introduction of the e-filing system would help taxpayers improve their efficiency in processing transactions and detecting and deterring non- compliance.

“We are on the verge to develop an online filing of income tax returns and with the introduction of this system a lot will be of benefit, as it will help minimise the high rate of long queues and help increase compliance rate on taxpayers. It will help them in improving on the efficiency in transaction process and it will also help to reduce cost and time spent on taxpayers filing in for their returns,” he assured lawmakers.

He explained that under the current manual system, taxpayers collect tax returns forms from NRA offices across the country, which according to him had been creating a lot of problems for them and waste time.

Earlier, chairman of the committee, Hon. Hassan Sheriff said issues of income tax returns involve every citizen, therefore it should be treated with seriousness, adding that the NRA’s role was vital to everybody as mandated by law.

Members of the committee, however, stated that there were lots of complaints brought forward by the public with regards the day-to-day running of NRA, which he said was not good for an institution that is the lifeblood of the country.

They were in agreement that the introduction of e-filing on tax returns was good, but expressed hope that it would be sustained and transparent in the long run.

In his presentation, Assistant Commissioner of Small and Medium Tax Office, Shiaka Kamara said income tax is imposed on every individual who has a chargeable income for the year of assessment, adding that unless they are exempt by the Act.

He said employees with one source of income or one employer during the tax year and have paid their PAYE scheme, are not required to file income tax returns, but cautioned that taxpayers should know that keeping records was very important in order to prevent omission of deductible expenses.

The National Revenue Authority was established in 2002 by an Act of Parliament – the National Revenue Authority Act, 2002 (Act No-11).

Prior to the establishment of the NRA, government revenue collection was fragmented and undertaken by the then Customs and Excise Department, Income Tax Department, Government Gold and Diamond Office and several other MDAs.

 One of the most outstanding reforms in the Sierra Leone Tax System was the bringing together of these revenue collecting agencies under the umbrella of the National Revenue Authority. The NRA has since played a vital role in formulating and implementing tax reforms that have resulted in increased revenue mobilisation and trade facilitation.

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