Liberian Government Gives Amnesty for Property Owners

Friday, 9th March 2007
President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and members of the Cabinet.
President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and members of the Cabinet.
Photo Credit: James Garessen, II/Executive Mansion
Monrovia, Liberia - The Ministry of Finance in consultation with the Office of the President of Liberia will as of March 15, 2007, grant tax waiver on Land, Building, and Rental Income to all Liberian and non-Liberian property owners, dating back to 2005.

In a recent Cabinet briefing, the Finance Ministry said the Amnesty is warranted by the long period of war in Liberia, which created a major economic setback for many Liberian and non-Liberian property owners, many of whom are still struggling to recover.  The Ministry expressed the hope that the Amnesty will provide some relief and help promote tax compliance amongst property owners.

The action, the Ministry said, is consistent with the principles underlying governmentís domestic debt resolution strategy, as a relief for both Liberian and non-Liberian property owners who suffered major income losses during the 14-years of civil crisis.

In a presentation made before a recent Cabinet session, the Finance Ministry cited more bases for its recommended amnesty in keeping with:
  • Chapter one, sub-chapter B, Section 56, sub-section (a) and (b) of the Tax Code, that the Ministry and the Deputy Minister for Revenue are authorized     to approve the remittance or reduction of tax otherwise due; and
  • Chapter one, sub-chapter B, Section 13, sub-section (b) that the Minister is authorized to write off bad debts, in accordance with the procedure established by regulations.
To qualify for the amnesty, the Finance Ministry says, property owners must resister or re-register all land and buildings, and must have made or make payment of all Real Estate and Rental Income taxes for 2006 and 2007, or enter a payment arrangement with the Ministry of Finance.

Meanwhile, the Ministry has terminated all exemptions on private and commercial buildings issued after the enactment of the 2000-Liberian Revenue Code. The decision, according to the Ministry has taken effect, as of January 1, 2007. Taxpayers will be liable for taxes as of January 1, 2007.  The decision, according to the Ministry, is consistent with the enactment of the Liberia Revenue Code of Liberia 2000, Chapter 20, sub-chapter 2000, section 2009, which does not provide exemptions for private and commercial properties.
 
Finance, is urging the Ministry of Lands & Mines, Land Commissioners, Surveyors, Deed Registrars and Directors, Township Commissioners, City Mayors, Probate Court Judges, and County Superintendents, to help ensure compliance on property and rental income taxes.