By Omar Bah
The Commissioner General of the Gambia Revenue Authority has expressed concern over compound owners’ failure to pay rental income tax imposed on individuals or entities in respect of the income or profits they earned.
Addressing West African delegates at the end of a regional professional tax conference on Friday, Yankuba Darboe said more often compound owners who make millions through rent will refuse to pay rental income tax.
He described the move as “ungodly and unpatriotic”. He said some of the defaulters will get away with it because the authority doesn’t have enough human resources to go to every compound and collect taxes.
“So, people should really demonstrate nationalism and know that paying taxes is not a waste. There is a need for attitudinal change towards paying our tax obligations because nobody will come from outside and help us build this country,” he added.
He said the most disappointing thing is that those considered rich are the very people dodging tax.
“Despite all the frustration – resorting to closing down businesses or taking people to court is always the last option for GRA but certain unscrupulous individuals take that as an opportunity not to pay their taxes,” he added. He said the authorities only resort to the courts when they exhaust all diplomatic channels.
Commissioner Darboe said Gambia being heavily reliant on tax, individuals deliberately avoiding taxes will not be spared.
Mr Darboe also expressed gratitude on behalf of the government to organisers of the conference.
He also informed the West African delegates the important role played by the Gambian media to complement the efforts of the GRA especially when it comes to tax mobilisation and compliance.
“The GRA was able to register its unprecedented achievements in terms of maximising revenue for the government thanks to the participation of the media in enlightening the taxpayers on the significance of paying taxes for national development,” he added.