Customs and Excise Department
In the progression of Customs modernization, Trade Facilitation and Border Controls denotes a shift in Customs focus on revenue generation proper to border controls and trade facilitation. The department is geared to support government reforms in improving doing business experience in Sierra Leone.
The Department maintains an integral role in facilitating the free movement of persons and goods across the country’s frontiers, with emphasis on the turnaround time and client experiences and border controls.
Revenue Administration: of various tax handles by way of fair assessment, collection, and accounting.
Trade Facilitation: the introduction of risk management approach in processes, and a fast track regime for compliant businesses.
Border Control: enforcement of restricted and or prohibited imports and exports in collaboration with other MDA’s.
Data Collection: Capture trade statistics and maintain a database of import, and exports transactions.
Regulate Customs Brokers: Training, eligibility and Licenses of Customs Brokers.
Valuation – Ensure assessments of imports based on Transaction Value.
Risk management – Profile businesses, Brokers and Processes to achieve targeted controls.
Post Clearance Audit – Verify declarations from records on business premises.
Harmonized System (HS) Classification and Rules of Origin – ensure commodities descriptions and applicable rates are adhered to.
Domestic Taxes Department
The Domestic Taxes Department (DTD) was formed in 2011 with the main objective of simplifying tax administration and making it easier for taxpayers to comply with their tax obligations. Over the last few years, the NRA modernization programme has focused on effective “Customer Service Delivery” and the formation of the DTD was instrumental to that principle.
Since the main focus of DTD is “Customer Service Delivery”, the department is structured along functional lines instead of tax type under the old system.
Each operational area has four main functions:
- Taxpayer Registration and Services
- Returns and Payment Processing
- Compliance and Debt Enforcement
- Audit and Assessment
These functions ensure that we can provide better in-house services to our taxpayers in terms of taxpayer services and returns processing; but also ensure that compliance increases under our self-assessment system by monitoring debt and filings.
In forming DTD, both the administration of Income Tax and Goods and Services Tax (GST) were combined. The advantage of this combination for the customer was that it made it easier for them to comply as they only had to deal with one tax office for all their tax issues; and for the NRA it made us more effective as we will continue to have a holistic view of the taxpayer.
The DTD is segmented into different tax offices. The Large Taxpayers Office (LTO) deals with the largest taxpayers and mainly includes Multinationals, Extractive & Mining Operators, Telecommunication Companies, Banking & Finance Players, Large Importers and Major Contractors. We strive to provide first class services for all our large taxpayers as they are small in number but contribute more than 80% of revenue generated.
The other operational tax office under DTD is the Small and Medium Taxpayers Office (SMTO) that manages all other taxpayers that are not large taxpayers. The SMTO has its SMTOHQ in Freetown that deals with Medium Taxpayers—three tax districts in Freetown (Freetown East, Freetown Central and Freetown West) that manage small and micro taxpayers; and four provincial offices in Bo, Makeni, Kono and Kenema servicing taxpayers in those regions.
There is also the Design and Monitoring (D & M) Unit of the DTD. D & M prepares all procedures, practice notes, forms, guidance etc. for operations. They also monitor operations to ensure that procedures are similarly implemented across operations.
Non Tax Revenue Department
In 2004, the responsibility for the collection of non-tax revenues was transferred from Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) to the National Revenue Authority and the Non-Tax Revenue Department (NTR) was consequently established at the Authority. Non-tax revenues are collected under financial provisions provided among others in the following Acts:
- Mines and Mineral Act 1994
- Fisheries Management Act.1994
- Forest Act 1998
- Building Fee Act 1974
Extractive Industry Revenue Unit (EIRU)
The Extractive Industry Revenue Unit (EIRU) was established by the National Revenue Authority (NRA) to manage the handling of all extractive-industry related taxes. To date, the administration of extractive industry has been the responsibility of the large tax office of the Domestic Tax Department (DTD). Because of the need for specialized knowledge of the sector, this responsibility was shifted to the EIRU. The Unit facilitates the assessment, collection, audit and timely recovery of revenue from the extractive industry.
SPECIFIC OBJECTIVES OF THE EIRU
1. Maximizing revenues from the extractive industry
Once a tax base and tax rate are established in line with the tax legislation and mining lease agreements, we focus on increasing voluntary compliance through:
• establishing a professional and trust-based relationship with EI taxpayers.
• educating taxpayers on the tax system, laws, policies and regulations.
2 . Developing and implementing an extractive industry strategy
Governance of the extractive industry sector goes far beyond issues of taxation and revenue collection. Among others, it incorporates environmental issues, the negotiating of mining lease agreements, and the relationships with other governmental and non-governmental agencies. To achieve the main objective of revenue maximization, we must navigate through these entities and issues.
3. Improving compliance in the extractive industry
We aim to ensure compliance based on the four pillars of compliance:
• Correct and timely registration of tax-payers
• Systematic filing of information
• Reporting of complete and accurate information
• Timely payment of tax obligations
Our Key Client Manager will improve the access to NRA information and services, especially for our largest clients. We will additionally publish guidance on various topics related to the tax system including a clear interpretation of the law.
4. Establishing an extractive industry forum
Our forum will engage stakeholders across the extractive industry including the chamber of mines. The forum will be a away to discuss concerns, share information about administrative developments and to facilitate improvement and arbitration.
5. Promoting collaboration with extractive-industry-related stakeholders
We collaborate with relevant government ministries and agencies to discuss technical issues relating to the industry for better understanding and the subsequent improvement of the administration of taxes. A task force has already been established to share information across various agencies with the view of maximizing revenue.
6. Monitoring revenue mobilization from the extractive industry sector
Our unit will forecast extractive industry tax revenues. This will ensure early reaction to changes in the revenue patterns and a better management of expectations. It will also allow us to understand compliance patterns.
7. Providing technical input on policies
We have a representative at the Minerals Advisory Board and take active part in the issuance of mining licenses. We recommend legislative changes in order to improve tax administration and compliance.
8. Auditing of extractive industry companies
We will develop and implement a compliance program to ensure that extractive companies pay the appropriate amount of tax. In the event were this does not happen, we will investigate and audit these taxpayers
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Human Resources Department
The HR Department provides personnel and logistics support to operations and support departments by recruiting, developing and retaining competent human capital. It is also responsible for performance management and the introduction of compensation schemes for high performing staff. This department thus plays a major role in helping the Authority meet revenue aspirations and provide quality service to its customers.
The HR Department further carries out the following functions:
- Prepares technical plans and programs for the development and implementation of office policies, procedures and guidelines in all areas of Human Resource Management/Development.
- Develops /recommends programs that foster better employee relations, staff welfare benefits, career development, staff discipline and other related aspects.
- Provides support to the various organizational units on staff related issues and technical/professional advices through collaboration with other institutions to implement capacity building programs.
- Enforces/monitors the implementation of Human Resource policies and procedures across the Authority and forward regular report to Management and Board for appropriate consideration
- Collaborates with other comparator agencies/institutions and government in respect to H R related matters.
- Processes personnel transactions, administers salaries/payroll and maintains personnel records in the Authority
This department is designed to serve as a conduit of support especially addressing the logistical needs of all other departments in the Authority. It undertakes/executes all other functions of the supply chain management except procurement/purchasing which falls under a separate domain.
The department carries out the following functions:
- Provides overall direction in the maintenance and control of the authority’s property.
- Ensures the availability of conducive working environment to enhance staff performance.
- Develops and maintain operating standards and skills/techniques in collaboration with the lateral departments/units and in consonance with the mission and mandates of the Authority.
- Provides technical/professional services/support relating to the general administration functions.
- Maintains the implementation of work plans and activities of the department in a timely and efficient manner.
Finance and Budget Department
The Finance and Budget Department is responsible for the financial management of the Authority. It controls budget spending and ensures that the institution’s liquidity position is secured. This department further aids the flow of revenues to the government and accounted for all revenues being collected and transferred to the Consolidated Fund.
Functions of the Finance & Budget Department Includes:
- Collection of revenue for the NRA which is deposited in the Consolidated Revenue Fund (CRF).
- Revenue reconciliation with Commercial banks.
- Participation at Cash Management meetings.
- Issuance of securitized receipts to outstations to ensure accountability of funds.
Information and Communication Technology Department
The Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Department of the National Revenue Authority (NRA) continues to play a key role in the institution’s modernization process/programme. Through its restructuring and updating of the ICT network, it has significantly contributed to the Authority’s impressive revenue performance over the years. The Department has helped transform the operations of NRA by applying modern information systems that have greatly enhanced the Authority’s administrative efficiency, which has subsequently resulted in improved revenue collection. The Department supports both the operational and support departments through the introduction of modern information technology and process automation.
The Authority currently uses the following application systems in its day to day operations:
- The ASYCUDA++ for Customs operations.
- The VIPS Plus for GST Processing.
- The Domestic Tax Information System (DTIS).
- Great Plains for HR and Financial Management.
- The ICT infrastructure which includes both the LAN and WAN.
- The NRA website (www.nra.gov.sl) and the Intranet.
- The NRA Corporate messaging system.
Internal Controls and Audit Department
The Internal Controls and Audit Department (ICA) is an independent and objective appraisal department created by the NRA Act 2002.The primary role of this department is to advise the Board through the Audit Committee and the Commissioner General on internal controls, risk management and governance systems in the Authority. This is done by measuring and evaluating the effectiveness of controls and systems in achieving the Authority’s strategic and operational objectives.
In addition, the department provides assurance to Management in systems they are responsible for and assist Management in making improvement to these systems. The department also provides consultancy services as and when it is required by the Board or Management.
The output of the Department is communicated to the Audit Committee for better guidance and control. This service is provided through a risk based audit methodology using the international standards for internal audit, CoSo and CoCo Models.
The Corporate Services Department plays a crucial role in achieving the Authority’s mandate through providing the organisation with a full range of services in the areas of board administration, policy and legal affairs, tax education & public affairs management and protocol.
The Department is split into three units namely:
- Board Administration & protocol
- Policy & Legal Affairs, and
- Tax Education & Public Affairs Management.
Functions of the three units of the department:
- The Board Administration (BA) Unit of the department coordinates board meetings, record board proceedings and disseminates instructions from the Board.
- The Public Affairs and Tax Education (PATE) Unit provides reliable and timely information to stakeholders to build a positive tax-paying culture and improve compliance with tax laws.
- The Policy & Legal Affairs (PLA) Unit provides legal services, makes proposals for effective legislation and enforcement of tax laws.
The Corporate Services Director is responsible for providing leadership which includes the provision of necessary support and resources to staff to enable them operate in an effective manner. The Department is situated at the Head office, Modesty House 7 Bathurst Street, Freetown.
Monitoring Research and Planning Department
The Monitoring Research and Planning department (MRP) is charged with the responsibility of conducting revenue enhancement research, monitoring all reform projects and revenue collection processes and procedures as well as leading the planning activities of the Authority.
Functions of the MRP Department include:
- Conducting research to enhance domestic revenue collection.
- Monitoring of key performance indicators & operational procedures of the Authority.
- Leading the planning process of the Authority.
- Processing duty free concession applications and advising Management based on regulations.
- Collecting, collating and regularly updating tax and non-tax revenue data base from which reports and publications are produced.
- Preparing revenue reports and contributing to the general publications of the Authority.
- Responding to data/ information requests on Domestic Revenue and Economic Performance by Development partners—MDAs, ECOWAS, DFID. IMF and World Bank.
- Monitoring and evaluating bilateral and multilateral agreements (such as the ECOWAS Common External Tariff) relating to taxes and customs duties.
- Representing the Authority in meetings as scheduled by the Director and or the Commissioner-General’s office.
Revenue Intelligence and Investigation Units
To be recognised as the premier provider of quality and timely tax intelligence, investigation and risk management service that fosters optimum revenue collection within the National Revenue Authority.
To enhance taxpayer voluntary compliance by detection and proactive investigation of tax evasion whilst maintaining confidence in the integrity of Sierra Leone’s tax system by a dedicated and professional workforce, this in turn will maximize revenue collection.
To enhance revenue collection by the authority through investigation of all detected cases of tax fraud/evasion and apply all the preventive measures at the disposal of the respective tax legislation.
- To support effectiveness and efficiency of Revenue departments audit programs through provision of intelligence summaries and risk profiling.
- To support the Revenue departments through providing specialized investigative services into tax frauds and crimes, determining the method of operation, identifying the sponsors or perpetrators, and prosecuting them to enhance compliance.
- To detect areas of willful negligence and graft by NRA staff and make recommendation, after full investigations, for necessary disciplinary action.