The Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) will begin a nationwide exercise to enforce tax compliance and fish out defaulting taxpayers by next month.
The move, according to the Assistant Commissioner of GRA at the Adabraka Medium Taxpayer Office (MTO), Mr Kwesi Eghan, was to ensure that all taxpayers and potential taxpayers filed their returns as required by law.
“There is no point ambushing the taxpayer with such an important national exercise so we want everyone to be aware that the GRA will not countenance non-compliance from defaulters.
“Anyone who has some clearance to make needs to do so before the exercise begins because we are sending a strong message that people can no longer hide from their tax obligations,” he said.
Mr Eghan was speaking at a seminar organised for taxpayers at the Adabraka MTO in Accra.
The participants were mainly representatives of companies, as well as individuals in the Adabraka MTO.
New tax regime
In the 2017 budget presented to Parliament, the government announced the abolishment of certain taxes, while new taxes were also introduced. For instance, the standard 17.5 per cent Value Added Tax (VAT) on real estates, domestic airlines, cooking oil and importation of spare parts has been scrapped by the government.
However, the government introduced a three per cent flat VAT, which is due to take effect from July this year. The threshold for registration for VAT has also been reviewed upwards.
In view of the dynamics in the tax landscape, the GRA has embarked on an exercise to educate taxpayers and create awareness of the new tax regime.
Mr Eghan explained that the move was a proactive mechanism that would clarify issues on the new payment modalities and also ensure that the required tax revenue was generated for national development.
“We thought it prudent to engage the taxpayers and let them know the development and iron out any outstanding issue before we roll it out in July. That way, we will have a more cooperative and a less intrusive tax atmosphere,” he said.
A lecturer at the GRA Training School, Mr Lawrence Hotsonyame, in his presentation, highlighted some provisions in the Revenue Administration Act (Act915), withholding taxes and filing of returns.
He underscored the need for all taxpayers and potential taxpayers to ensure that they file their tax returns in accordance with the requirements of the Revenue Administration Act which would take effect from July this year.
“The key thing in this Act that the public need to take note of is that taxpayers need to have Taxpayer Identification Number (TIN) because it has become so important that you cannot engage in official business with key institutions such as the GRA, Passport Office, Drivers and Vehicle Licensing Authority (DVLA) and Registrar Generals Department without a TIN,” he said.