The Gambia Revenue Authority was established under section 3 of the Gambia Revenue Authority Act by Act No. 13 of 2004 and amended by Act No. 10 of 2010. The Authority started operations in 2006 and from 2006-2018, The Legal Department was a Unit under the Department of Technical Services and was headed by a Deputy Director, Legal (DDL). In 2018, the Board approved the creation of the Legal and Board Services Department to be headed by a Director (DLBS). However, from 2018-March 2020 the DDL acted as the head of the Department and the first Director of the Department was appointed in March 2020.
The Department is headed by a Director, assisted by a Deputy Director. The Department personnel are all qualified Barristers and Solicitors of the Supreme Court of The Gambia and a paralegal. The Director of the Department is answerable to the Commissioner General and the Board of Directors of the Authority. The Director of the Department also serves as the Board Secretary.
The Authority is responsible for administering the following revenue laws.
Laws in First Schedule
The GRA Act;
The Customs and Excise Act;
The Income and Value Added Tax Act;
The Payroll Tax Act; and
The Stamp Act.
Laws in the Second Schedule
The National Environment Management Act;
The Information and Communications Act;
The Betting and Gaming Act;
The Land Registration of Deeds Act;
The Single Window Business Registration Act; and
The National Education and Technical Training Levy Act.
The mandate of the Legal Department stems from the overarching statutory mandate of the Authority “to act as an agent of the Government of The Gambia to administer, assess, and collect revenue on behalf of the Government of The Gambia and to provide efficient and effective administration of the revenue collecting system in The Gambia”.
The role of the Department is to provide technical support in the discharge of this statutory mandate. Therefore, our responsibility as a department is to support the various departments within GRA in relation to legal advice, drafting agreements and other legal instruments, interpretation of revenue laws, training of staff on revenue laws and general litigation for tax recovery. The Department is also responsible for coordinating Board meetings and serve as a bridge between the Board and Management.
Legal Advisory Services: Provide timely and accurate legal advice on to various departments within GRA and relevant stakeholders. Review and analyze tax laws, regulations, and policies to provide guidance on tax compliance, tax liability and tax recovery mechanism. This includes reviewing contracts, agreements, and legal documents, assessing legal risks and recommending appropriate courses of action;
Tax and Customs Legislation Development: Participate in the development and review of tax and Customs legislation and policies. Collaborate with relevant stakeholders to ensure the legal soundness and effectiveness of proposed laws, regulations, and procedures;
Legal Research and Analysis: Conduct legal research and analysis on emerging tax and Customs issues, international trade agreements, international tax treaties, and legal precedents to stay updated on developments in tax and Customs laws and international trade laws with a view of providing accurate and up-to-date legal advice;
International Taxation and Cooperation: Facilitate international tax cooperation and assist in matters related to double taxation treaties, transfer pricing, exchange of tax information with other jurisdictions;
Contract Management: Establish and maintain a robust contract management system. Review, draft, negotiate and finalize contracts, ensuring they are in line with GRA’s objectives and legal requirements. Develop standard contract templates and provide training to staff on contracts management best practices;
Litigation and Dispute Resolution: Handle tax and Customs-related disputes, appeals, dept recovery and litigation cases on behalf of GRA. Coordinate with external legal counsel and represent the authority in negotiations, alternative dispute resolution processes, and court proceedings;
Board Services: Arranging the business of Board meetings and keeping a record of the proceedings of the Board. Compiling and dispatching Board papers to Board members and conveying Board directives to management;
Tax and Customs Enforcement and Compliance: Develop strategies and mechanisms to enforce tax and Customs laws, regulations and ensure compliance by taxpayers and importers. In collaboration with the two operations departments within GRA, conduct audits, investigations, and examinations to identify potential tax evasion, fraud and non-compliance issues;
Develop Legal Policies and Procedures: Establish comprehensive legal policies and procedures specific to GRA. Ensure alignment with tax laws, regulations and organizational objectives;
Provide Legal Training and Awareness: Conduct training programs and awareness sessions for GRA staff on tax laws, legal procedures, and compliance obligations. Enhance staff knowledge and understanding of legal requirements;
Collaborate with Tax and Customs Departments: Work closely with tax and Customs Departments to provide proactive legal support, including reviewing tax assessments, Customs assessments, rulings and regulations;
Monitor Legislative Changes: Stay updated on changes in tax laws and regulations at the national and international level. Assess the impact on revenue collection and provide guidance for implementation;
Enhance Tax Dispute Resolution Mechanisms: Review and improve effectiveness of tax dispute resolution mechanisms, such as mediation and administrative appeals processes. Streamline procedures to expedite resolution;
Maintain Legal Database and Documentation: Establish a centralized legal database to organize and maintain tax laws, regulations, legal opinions, court rulings, and relevant legal research materials.
Develop Legal Templates and Guidelines: Create standardized legal templates, forms, guidelines, and checklists for compliance; and
External Counsel Management: Select and manage relationships with external law firms and legal experts. Engage external counsel for complex litigation cases or specialized legal advice when required.