Sierra Leone Telegraph: 15 April 2021:
In a bid to enhance government revenue through effective collection of Goods and Services Tax (GST), the National Revenue Authority (NRA) is calling on all shoppers and service customers to ensure that they are issued with electronically generated receipts from cash registers when they make payments.
It is estimated that the NRA is losing millions of dollars every year through non-payment of GST and fraud.
Writing in a statement published on Tuesday, the Commissioner-General of NRA – Dr. Samuel S. Jibao said: “The general public is hereby informed that the National Revenue Authority has commenced the installation of the Electronic Cash Register (ECR) Machines in the business premises of all registered GST taxpayers such as supermarkets, hotels, guest houses, restaurants, bars, night clubs, building materials stores, boutiques, saloons, general merchandise, and other services providers, among others.
“The public is hereby reminded that the use of these machines is compulsory as provided for by the Finance Act of 2020 and other related legislations. Therefore, all registered GST taxpayers are mandated to input all transactions into these machines and generate a receipt for each transaction.
“It is an offense if a taxpayer fails to issue a GST receipt generated from the ECR Machines even without being requested for by the customer.
“Any taxpayer who fails to issue an electronically generated receipt from the ECR machines or other related software for this purpose, or tampers with the installations of these systems, or refuse to allow NRA staff to install these machines, or wilfully, recklessly or carelessly damage these machines and systems will be construed as impeding tax administration for which a fine of up to Le 500 Million Leones and or an imprisonment term of up to five years will be imposed on conviction or both such fines and imprisonment term as appropriate.
“Therefore, all registered GST taxpayers must notify the NRA in an event of fault or problems with the installation and operation of these machines and equipment within twenty-four hours so that remedial actions will be taken by the Authority immediately.
“All registered GST taxpayers must regularize their registration information with the NRA for the issuance of a new Taxpayer Identification Number (TIN) and must ensure that the ECR Machines are installed immediately.
“Support the NRA in mobilizing the much-needed revenues for effective state governance,” the statement ends.
But business analysts say that a major problem for many business taxpayers using ECR machines is the lack of constant supply of electricity to operate the machines.