The Plenary took the decision on Tuesday, September 17, 2019 following the reading and subsequent discussion into a communication by River Gee County Electoral District #3 Representative Francis S. Dopoh, II.
In his communication dated Monday, September 16, 2019, the River Gee County lawmaker informed members of that august body to invite the Ministry of Education (MoE) and the Liberia Revenue Authority (LRA) to provide reasonable justification why these violations are happening before their eyes, and at the detriment of the Liberian government.
“Hon. Speaker, Deputy Speaker, distinguished colleagues, I wish to bring to your attention the alarming and constant strategies of educational institutions in Liberia employing sale of educational materials; an action that seeks to evade the collection of the presumption or corporate income taxes that could have been collected if parents and students were to but from registered businesses than these educational institutions,” said the communication.
According to the River Gee County Electoral District #3 lawmaker, the commercialized activities by these institutions undermine the intent of Sections 9 of 2009 of the Liberia Revenue Code as amended in 2011.
Section 90 of the Revenue Code of 2009 amended in 2011, which speaks to the issue of tax eviction, states that: (a) “Tax Evasion Classified as Felony. A person who willfully evades or attempts to evade tax imposedunder this Code commits a felony. Upon conviction, in addition to any other sanctions that may beprovided by law, the person is subject to a fine of not more than $200,000; imprisonment for not morethan 5 years; or both.”
Part (b) of the Section defines eviction as “A person willfully evades or attempts to evade tax if, with intent to evade ordefeat tax liability or tax payment, the person.”
Following the reading of the communication, a motion was made by Lofa County Electoral District #1 Representative Franklin S. Nyumalin, for the matter to be opened for discussion, thus, creating further room for Rep. Duopo to further provide more clarity on his communication.
Providing more details about his communication, the River Gee lawmaker asserted that educational institutions are instituting more social cost on the already impoverished Liberians rather than creating more social benefits for them.
“From the way I see it is tax eviction by these educational entities, because their act denies the government of presumptive tax in the range of U$600,000 to US$700,000 annually, which it should have collected if these business entities were making this business to pay their taxes. As you may be aware, these institutions are not paying taxes to government, simply because they are considered under the law to be providing social services to our people,” he asserted.
And following discussion into the communication, a latter motion was filed by Montserrado County Electoral District #8 Representative Moses Acarous Gray, for the communication to be sent to the House’s Committees on Education, Ways means and Finance to report back to Plenary on Friday, September 20, 2019.