GRA Boss, Amishaddai Owusu-Amoah
The Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) has debunked claims that it is deliberately harassing members of the Ghana Union of Traders Association (GUTA) over tax collections at the ports.
According to the Authority, the operation to collect all taxes owed the State is part of measures to ensure that government rakes in tax revenues to undertake developmental projects.
GUTA in a press conference accused the authority of harassing its members at various ports and market centres with some tax inspection which the claim was crippling their businesses.
However, the GRA in a press statement signed by Assistant Commissioner Communication And Public Affairs, Florence Asante, said it is acting within the confines of the law.
The statement also indicated that the GRA raked in about ¢105,000 within two months through upfront payments with a corresponding increase in VAT registration standing at 4,064.
It indicated that the GRA also embarked on a VAT invoice invigilation exercise which led to a huge increase in VAT collection.
“For example, a company in the manufacturing sector which records monthly sales of GH¢3 million recorded almost GH¢8 million during the invigilation. In the hospitality sector, a taxpayer reported GH¢780,000.00 as sales for the month, but the invigilation revealed an amount of GH¢1.7 million.
It is expected that when the Electronic VAT invoicing system is fully rolled out VAT infractions will be minimized,” it said.
It explained that the Customs Division in particular, has put in place four (4) Monitoring Taskforces to curtail smuggling, under declaration, mis-description and concealment of goods thereby ensuring that the right amount of duties and taxes are paid by importers.
These Monitoring Taskforces it indicated includes, Monitoring Teams at Tema, Eastern Frontier based at Dabala, Western Frontier based in Kumasi and Vehicle Taskforce (Nationwide).
It added that the Monitoring Taskforces have significantly impacted on revenue mobilization between October 2022 to August 2023 totaling GH¢181,478,844.93.
“The Tema Team recovered a total short collection of GH¢153,802,495.54, the Eastern Frontier Monitoring Team also recovered a total short collection ofGH¢4,684,844.42, the Western Frontier Team recovered a total short collection of GH¢1,112,587.29 and; the Vehicle Taskforce (Nationwide) also recovered a total short collection of GH¢21,878,917.68,” it stated.
It further said that apart from being a deterrent to those persons who are involved in non-compliant activities, these compliance activities also resulted in additional revenue for the State.
“Management of the GRA therefore wishes to appeal to the leadership of GUTA and TAGG to cooperate with the various Taskforces across the country and encourage their members to comply with the Tax laws. We will continue to engage the members of Trade Associations, including GUTA and TAGG, to address their issues as we strive to achieve our common goal of revenue mobilization,” it said.
It reiterated its commitment to its core mandate of revenue mobilization and facilitation of trade and “we assure all traders and the general public that the work of the Taskforces and the other compliance activities is not to intimidate or harass them but rather to ensure that businesses are complying with the tax laws and are paying the right amount of taxes due the Government of Ghana for national development.”
“GRA will continue to ensure that the human involvement in revenue mobilization is reduced while improving on automation of systems to eliminate the use of discretion and thereby assist taxpayers to comply,” it added.
It also encouraged the public to report any misconduct on the part of GRA officers during these exercises and in their normal course of work on 0800-900-110.
By Jamila Akweley Okertchiri