National Revenue Authority Commissioner-General, Dr. Samuel Jibao,
By: Paul Mansaray
The National Revenue Authority (NRA) has engaged the Committee on Finance in Parliament specifically on the issue of 30% tax which private schools and other private institutions must adhere to.
Briefing the media and members of the committee, Head of Corporate Affairs and Revenue Tax Collection, NRA, Mr. Ibrahim Sorie stated that the Income Tax Act of 2000 which was amended in 2016 provides that any school which is not a Government or Government Assisted school should pay income tax from profit generated, adding that it is that part of the law they have been implementing all this while.
He said that NRA decided to engage members of the Finance Committee to respond to concerns raised by owners of private schools and appealed to Government to look into that provision, adding that even private schools belong to the priority of Government programs in terms of the provision of the Free Quality Education (FQE).
The Revenue Collector further stated that he was in Parliament not only to explain what the law says in terms of taxation of this sector, but to look at what Parliament possibly needs to do if Government wants to change that aspect of the law. He described the taxes NRA is collecting from owners of private schools as not tax on turnover, but tax on profit and stated that profit is the excess of income over expenses.
He stated that the private schools enterprises are different from other businesses since private schools operate their activities based on profit maximization.
Mr. Ibrahim Sorie stressed that they are implementing Government’s regulations and are ready to practice and follow any law that may be liable to change, adding that one could only be exempted from obeying the Act if he or she is not operating a business that provides personal benefit.
He frowned on the question of negotiating those taxes because he said, the moment they start to negotiate, they would reach at a point wherein everybody would come to negotiate this tax regime.
Mr. Ibrahim Sorie advanced that they are there to implement whatever Parliament enacted, adding that they have revenue target based on Government policy. He highlighted that they are currently on a survey to identify all tax payers and update their records and concluded that the law makes provision that anyone involved in such businesses must honor the payment of taxes.