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Gov’t asked to develop accurate property tax database for efficient collection 

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Representatives of District Assemblies, civil society organisations, youth groups, businesses amongst other relevant stakeholders, have called for an accurate property tax database, to ensure efficient tax collection. 

The stakeholders demanded that the database should include ownership details, property characteristics and assessed values, as the fundamental for enhancing tax assessment and collection processes at the Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies (MMDAs).

This formed part of a communiqué, which catalogued recommendations derived at from a synthesis of research findings, best practices observed during project implementation, and insights shared by participants during a sub-national tax dialogue forum on enhancing revenue mobilisation (property taxation), held in Tamale.

The goal of the communiqué, which was directed at the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA), was to enhance revenue mobilisation in the country, by improving the efficiency of property tax collection and encouraging increased community participation.

The sub-national tax dialogue forum on enhancing revenue mobilisation  through property taxation, was jointly organised by Norsaac, a CSO and OXFAM in Ghana, as part of the ‘Strengthening Advocacy on Inclusive Democracy in Ghana, Digital Property Taxation Initiative,’ and Fair Tax, which is about accountable tax mechanisms.

Participants were drawn from the Tamale Metropolis, Sagnarigu and Savelugu Municipalities, as well as the Tolon and Kumbungu Districts.

Currently, the GRA is responsible for collecting property tax on behalf of MMDAs and has developed a digital platform and registered a number of property and structures in the MMDAs to ensure easy tax collection.

The communiqué said property valuation was a pivotal step in the property tax administration process, influencing the accuracy of tax assessments and ensuring fairness in tax obligations, adding “Implementing a system of regular property revaluation is vital to reflect changes in property values over time.

It said transparently communicating the methods and criteria used for property valuation would help build public understanding and acceptance.

It called for regular property inspections, saying, conducting periodic inspections would not only verify property details, and identify unregistered property, ensuring compliance with tax regulation, and emphasised that the proactive approach was vital for maintaining accuracy in property tax records.

The communiqué further touched on accountability and transparent mechanisms and called for a well-established and transparent property taxation system, to ensure a fair and effective tax mobilisation strategy.

Establishing a public disclosure mechanism such as an annual report detailing the allocation and utilisation of tax revenues provided stakeholders with visibility into how their contributions were benefiting the community, it added.

It spoke about ensuring seamless handover of property tax collection from the GRA to the MMDAs and called for a clear and well-communicated timeline.

“The government plays a pivotal role in orchestrating this transition to ensure that all stakeholders are well-informed and prepared for the changes ahead.

Transparent communication of specific timelines provides both the GRA and MMDAs with a structured framework to adhere to, reducing ambiguity and fostering accountability,” it said.

Additionally, the document highlighted the stand of stakeholders against political interferences in the property tax administration, saying insulating the tax collection processes from undue political influence would safeguard its integrity and impartiality.

It added that political neutrality ensured that property tax assessments were based on objective criteria and the principles of fairness.

The communiqué also focused on building a citizens’ movement for enhanced revenue mobilisation proposing not only regular consultations but also workshops and town hall meetings amongst the GRA, MMDAs, community leaders and CSOs to encourage dialogue, address concerns, and seek input on tax policies.

Other issues proposed included enhancing communication channels to educate the public and property owners about their tax obligations, payment procedures, and the potential benefits derived from tax revenues and said this approach aimed to instill a sense of civic responsibility and understanding among the local population.

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