GRA Begins Moves To Self-Assess SMEs

The management of Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) has hinted that beginning from 2015 all registered taxpayers under the Domestic Tax Revenue Division of the Authority are to be self-assessed.
George Blankson
George Blankson

To this end, taxpayers assigned to Spintex Road and Adabraka Medium Taxpayer Offices are being mandated to self-assess, with effect from January 2013 on pilot basis, while taxpayers under the Large Taxpayer Office (LTO) are already into self-assessment practice, senior officials of GRA have disclosed.

But the GRA officials declined to disclose the amount of the money that would be spent on the novelty project.
However, the Acting Deputy Commissioner in-charge of Modernisation Programme at the GRA, Ms Valerie Ennison told that the GRA and government have made funds available for the implementation of the project.
Earlier, speaking at a media encounter on Self-Assessment (S.A) in Accra, yesterday, the Project Manager of S.A, Mr. George Lamptey noted: ?The present legislative environment in which self-assessment is being practice has some limitations as against what has been spelled out as best practice in the key element discussed earlier.?
However, the Ghana Revenue Authority, in her bid to meet the policy objective of full self-assessment practice for all registered taxpayers by 2015, has lined up some reform programmes and activities.
These, he mentioned, include reviewing and updating the relevant tax legislation, simplification of procedures and processes of meet the needs of the segmented taxpayers(Large, Medium and Small Taxpayers), modernization of business process through ICT and sensitization and tax education programmes.
Touching on the benefits of S.A, Mr Lamptey indicated that self-assessment would greatly lead to the realization of voluntary compliance by the taxpayer in this era of modern tax administration.
When implemented it would lessening the burden on both the taxpayer and the tax administrator from the long and arduous task of objections to administrative ?assessments and the determination processes which sometimes foster conflicts.
He further added that self-assessment would engender the trust between the taxpayer and the tax administrator, reduce compliance costs for taxpayer and tax administration, and eliminate corruption among tax administrators.
Mr Lamptey mentioned that lack of funds, poor record keeping habits of taxpayers, and internal and external stakeholders resistance to change are the major challenges that the self-assessment project will face.
The Commissioner of Domestic Tax Revenue Division at the GRA, Mrs Comfort Boohene-Osafo who chaired the function observed that return filling by the taxpayer is very essential and the core ingredient in self-assessment practice.
She described self-assessment regime as the one in which a taxpayer is given the responsibility to accurately compute and report his tax liability to GRA. Taxpayer files a return for a registered tax type within a specified period and pays associated taxes declared.
A return as filed by the taxpayer is accepted by the tax administrator without interference excepts for face vetting checks for lodgement (face vetting refers to the very minimal but mandatory information that would make the returns acceptable for use, for instance name of taxpayer, Taxpayer Identification Number (TIN), filing of all required fields on the form and a signature/mark).
The tax administrator conducts post return submission compliance, verification and audit checks for infractions, while a very stringent sanctions application regime for infractions.
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