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On the campaign to improve tax compliance

Oct 26, 2015, 9:51 AM

The Gambia Revenue Authority (GRA) has intensified its campaign to improve tax compliance in the country.

Although the awareness-creation programme this time around targeted traditional rulers, ward councillors, and business communities, the whole nation, particularly all economic operators, are concerned when it comes to tax and rates issues.

This is because taxation involves everyone in a given society, as whatever goods one buys from local markets or supermarkets within that society or nation is taxed.

In The Gambia, taxation has almost become inescapable; more so, with the introduction of the Value Added Tax (VAT), which is collected from the mega wholesaler with an equity of D500,000 and above, but it is actually systematically obtained from the retailers and the consumers.

Hence, the issue of taxation is of paramount importance to all and sundry in society.

It is as essential to the government for national development as it is to the consumers, especially the layman, who foots the cost of it or bears the brunt of an excessive taxation policy and or rapidly increasing taxes and rates in a country.

Improving tax compliance and on-time payment of taxes and rates, is fundamental to raising the necessary revenue and income needed by government to fund national development ventures, and meet other obligations of state governance. So, all must endeavour to comply with tax payment on time. Therefore, the sensitization campaign by GRA is a step in the right direction.

However, it is advisable that taxation is not overstretched, as it has the tendency of discouraging businesses and entrepreneurs, and even putting some enterprises and firms out of business. This is because while they are grappling with paying taxes, businesses are also faced with many recurrent expenses to take care of, such as water and electricity bills, staff emoluments and so on and so forth.

So taxation must be cautiously rolled out to maintain a sound business environment in a country.

Start-ups and some other business establishments that barely make a profit find it hard to grapple with the fact that they still have to pay taxes on their annual turnover, even when they make a loss in a given year.

By and large, it is essential that we apply taxation wisely for the good of national and business development.

“The wisdom of man never yet contrived a system of taxation that would operate with perfect equality.”

Andrew Jackson