By Ragan M Conteh
The National Revenue Authority (NRA) will next year continue its tax education program, including targeted taxpayer workshops, publishing relevant taxpayer education materials, production and airing of jingles, use of celebrities and activists for tax education and implementing a National Taxpayers Awards Day by the end of the year.
According to the 2021 budget, the National Revenue Authority will implement a Domestic Tax Preparers Scheme that would allow trained tax agents to help small and medium taxpayers in record keeping and tax compliance.
To prevent under-declaration and smuggling, at customs, the NRA will activate the valuation module of the ASYCUDA World System and enhanced it with an international price reference database, while fully utilising the newly constructed cargo inspection facility at the seaport.
The authority will operationalize excise stamp duty on imports of alcohol, tobacco and other commodities subject to excise duties, thereby controlling smuggling associated with the importation of these commodities.
The 2021 budget has several tax policy measures, which have been proposed in the 2021 Finance Bill to protect local manufacturing industries, enhance the efficiency and effectiveness of tax administration, cushioning the lingering effect of COVID-19 on businesses, especially SMEs, improve consumer welfare, and support Government priority areas, among others.
In the area of duty and tax exemptions, the duty and tax waivers constitute a significant source of revenue loss due to the continued abuse and misuse of the facility by some beneficiary agencies. Despite the drop, from Le601.0 billion, in 2019, to Le326.0 billion, during the first three quarters of 2020, duty and tax waivers still remain high. The share of duty and taxes waived, on donor funded projects, is also high at 22%.