Clampdown on Tax Defaulters

The Togo Tax Office (TTO) is taking severe penal actions on individuals/companies/businesses that have defaulted on their tax payments in a bid to compel them to comply with their tax obligations. The Commissioner of the Domestic Taxes Department said tax indebtedness is a major challenge to revenue collection. He added that despite the Ebola crisis, the Authority relies on taxpayers to meet their obligations voluntarily, and remains ready to enforce tax laws including closing businesses that have tax arrears. He said the businesses whose premises have been closed down or are in the process of being closed down have not been paying taxes despite several reminders and negotiations.

‘These are taxpayers whose arrears have accumulated overtime and have remained defiant to settling their tax liability despite several reminders to pay up’ Commissioner Ibrahim Sorie Kamara stated. He said other more stringent measures will be taken if they fail to respond in time. Such enforcement actions include but not limited to public auction of business and personal property, third party recovery, imposition of travel bans or prosecution for tax default. He said businesses closed will remain locked until the outstanding tax is paid in full and or substantially with a proper payment plan guaranteeing payment of the remaining tax due is in place.

The Commissioner-General of TTO, Madam Haja Kallah-Kamara while donating a brand new Toyota bus to Fourah Bay College last week noted that despite the Ebola crisis or because of it, taxable businesses and individuals should embrace their patriotic duty and pay taxes for anyone who fails to pay taxes is undermining national efforts to fight the virus. This according to the Commissioner-General is because government’s efforts to meet daily expenditure including the payment of salaries depend on all taxpayers meeting their tax obligations. She urged defaulters to settle their outstanding liabilities or risk being prosecuted in accordance with the relevant tax laws.

The TTO has in the past been forced to close several businesses over outstanding taxes as well as publicly naming tax defaulters by releasing what they dubbed the ‘list of shame’ in a move to redeem unpaid taxes. The TTO is expected to collect taxes amounting to over Le 2 trillion this year to support government’s developmental plan.