Dec 15, 2014, 11:09 AM
The GRA official made the statement yesterday while delivering a speech at the opening of a three-day training activity for Tax Tribunal members on Revenue Laws held at the Kairaba Beach Hotel.
He emphasised that the GRA would assist in any way it could to ensure a functional tribunal, without compromising the independence of the tribunal and its members.
According to him, the tribunal creates a win-win opportunity for both the GRA and the taxpayers, by ensuring and expediting justice in tax matters.
He said the training session could not have come at a more opportune time, coinciding with the dawn of a new year, which they hope would see a more active tax tribunal.
“The Government of The Gambia came up with the concept of a tribunal, as it was felt that the inception of a special tribunal to deal with customs and tax matters would ensure and expedite justice for taxpayers,” he said.
The GRA, which is mandated to assess, collect and administer revenue in a fair and transparent manner, had ensured that all aspects of operationalisation of the tribunal had been time realised, he said.
“The GRA firmly believes that the operationalisation of the tribunals does not only comply with the provisions of the laws, but it also ensures that aggrieved taxpayers have an alternative way of addressing their grievances before heading to the high court,” Mr Darboe added.
“Litigation, we will agree, results in large amounts of much-needed revenue by the state being blocked, thereby ensuring adverse effects on the country’s economy,” he continued.
The taxpayers is also burdened in pursuing tax disputes for a long period of time, since this takes up time and resources that are needed for the taxpayers’ business, causing an additional burden whist waiting for redress, the GRA official further stated.
The GRA, considering the above and the fact that an effective tax system would achieve early finality to tax assessment and would retain the confidence of the taxpayers in the system, decided to come up the tribunal, he said.
“The enabling environment has been made possible by the Government of The Gambia and the rest is now up to us to ensure that the public is sensitised further on the existence of the tribunal.”
Darboe thanked the Enhanced Intergraded Framework (EIF) project through its project director, which had supported the tribunal from its inauguration and had generously provided the funds for the training workshop.
“We hope that 2016 will see more support from the EIF project,” he said.