Establishing a Modern Tax Administration in Liberia


In 2011, to bolster its development efforts, Liberia took on the challenge of establishing a modern and professional revenue administration. This would help the country collect the revenue to finance much-needed public services. Achieving this objective was particularly challenging in the context of a post-civil war period, further aggravated by the Ebola epidemic in 2013 to 2015.


With support from the Revenue Mobilization Trust Fund, the Liberian authorities developed an extensive reform program in consultation with the IMF to underpin revenue mobilization. This program focuses on establishing a robust organizational structure, strengthening core functions such as audit and taxpayer services, building capacity through training and coaching, and laying the groundwork for the transition to a revenue authority. Strong leadership with a clear vision was crucial in designing and implementing the reform strategy.

The IMF worked closely with multiple donors, including the African Development Bank, the World Bank and the U.S. Treasury to support Liberia with these reforms. The IMF’s support continued during the Ebola crisis, via off-site capacity development missions and effective use of technology to improve capacity in sector audits, enhance the design and implementation of the computerized tax system, and to complete the legal and institutional framework to establish the Liberia Revenue Authority (LRA).


The LRA was established at the height of the Ebola crisis in July 2014. The administration is now organized in line with international best practices, along key functions and taxpayer segments. The IMF’s knowledge sharing efforts helped create a system of revenue administration, which was vital for the country during the Ebola crisis – a period when the country’s public finances were impacted by a dramatic economic downturn.

With these reforms in revenue administration, Liberia’s revenue growth began to rise. In the last ten years, despite all the challenges, revenue collections have increased by approximately 4 percentage points of GDP. The LRA is now working toward implementing e-filing and e-payment systems, which will further improve efficiencies and revenue collections.