The Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA), in collaboration with the Ghana Union of Traders Association (GUTA), is to carry out sustained nationwide tax education programmes to ensure voluntary compliance.
Mr Edward Gyambrah, Acting Commissioner Domestic Tax Revenue Division, said the strategic partnership with GUTA would enable the GRA to realise its vision of mobilising enough revenue for national development.
He said available statistics indicated that the number of persons in the informal sector who are in the tax net was low.
“This situation is unfortunate and I believe the time has come for a change in attitude. As a country, our vision to wean ourselves from donor funding will be an illusion, if those who must contribute their quota in the form of taxes refuse to do so,” he said at the launch of the collaboration in Accra.
He urged GUTA members, especially the National Executives, to see it as a civic duty to encourage those outside the tax net to get on board.
Mr Gyambrah said if everyone contributed the fair share of taxes, there would be enough in the government’s kitty for the provision of adequate developmental projects for the benefit of the citizenry.
He said the GRA was continuously working to improve on its services and in that direction the Domestic Tax Revenue Division (DTRD) had commenced the first phase of a nationwide restructuring exercise in Accra and Kumasi with the aim of creating offices not on the basis of turnovers as it was previously but rather that of jurisdiction.
“We have therefore reviewed the structure of our offices to make it more convenient for you to file returns and pay taxes,” he said, adding that the domestic Tax offices would now be known as Area Support Offices.
The offices would perform mainly administrative, centralised audit and enforcement functions and Taxpayer Service Centres (TSCs) which would carry out all other functions such as registration, receiving of returns, complaints, enquiries and payments, compliance, debt management and tax education.
The Authority in collaboration with the Ministry of Finance in the course of the year inaugurated the Tax Audit and Quality Assurance Department to ensure improved quality of audits and provide improved revenue assurance.
The Department will manage the centralized audit planning process, serve as the audit centre of excellence, monitor and ensure quality audits and investigate significant tax gaps including cases of suspected tax evasion, avoidance and fraud, he said.
He said the GRA had deployed an end-to-end Customs administration system, the
Integrated Customs Management System, which is presently running successfully and helped to reduce the turn-around time for importers and ensured the efficient management and collection of customs duties and taxes.
On the digitisation drive, Mr Gyambrah said it was to make it possible for taxpayers to file some returns and make payments online, adding that the full deployment of the system nationwide was expected during the first quarter of 2021.
Dr Joseph Obeng, the President of GUTA, praised the partnership and said it would go a long way to ensure members complied fully with their tax obligations.
GUTA members were educated on Rights and obligations of Taxpayers, Integrated Customs Management System (ICUMS), Value Added Tax (VAT) with emphasis on the Flat Rate Scheme and Record Keeping.