Liberia’s Revenue Code provides the legal and regulatory basis for customs duties and standards. The Liberia Revenue Authority (LRA) is a semi-autonomous agency that administers and enforces the Revenue Code and related tax laws. Imports are subject to tariff duties that vary according to product type, category, and volume and constitute a major source of government income. Import duties are specific (based on volume) for some commodities, and ad valorem (based on cost, insurance, and freight value) for others. Specific duties apply to food, beverages, petroleum products, and certain rubber products. The cost of equipment and machinery used in the year the asset is placed into service is eligible for a tax deduction of up to 30 percent. The construction cost of a new hotel or a tourist resort is eligible for a tax deduction of up to 30 percent of the cost of the investment. Additionally, the cost of buildings or fixtures used to manufacture finished products containing at least 60 percent local raw materials are eligible for a tax deduction of up to 10 percent. Machinery, equipment, raw materials, semi-finished products, and other supplies used for construction projects in the tourism sector are exempt from import duty for up to 90 percent of their dutiable value. The government imposes fees outside of the regular tariff structure, such as a container tracking fee, which are used to generate revenue with no real added value to the import process.
Since 2010, ECOWAS introduced a common external tariff (CET) system based on a value added tax (VAT) regime as part of the regional efforts toward establishing a common custom union across West Africa. The aim is to make trade and commerce easier within the region. However, Liberia continues to use a single-stage goods and services tax (GST) while the government gradually transitions and harmonizes its external and domestic taxations to adapt to the VAT regime. In November 2021, an ECOWAS delegation visited Liberia to encourage the government to speed up its migration to a VAT. The LRA continues to reform the tax system in harmony with other ECOWAS countries. GST is imposed at the manufacturing stage on several goods and services specifically listed in the Liberia Revenue Code. It is levied at the rates of 7 percent (for goods) and 10 percent (for services), except for communication services which are set at 15 percent. The Ministry of Finance and Development Planning (MFDP) and the LRA continue to work out the necessary policy, legal and regulatory frameworks to gradually transition to the value-added tax (VAT) regime that would replace the existing Goods and Services Tax (GST) system. Contact the LRA for specific categories of duties or tariffs.
Additionally, see “Temporary Entry of Materials and Personal Belongings” below for related provisions.