The Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) on Wednesday extended the ongoing excise tax stamp enforcement to hotels and restaurants which resulted in the confiscation of unstamped beverages from Kempinski, Movenpick Ambassador and Accra City hotels.
The taskforce firstly went to Kempinski Hotel Gold Coast, where imported alcoholic beverages without the tax stamp were seized from its bar and the beverage store, although a few of the products were affixed with stamps, many were not.
At Movenpick Ambassador and the Accra City Hotels, the stories were similar and although there were some initial resistance by authorities, the taskforce seized all alcoholic beverages without not affixed with the tax stamp.
In an interview with the media after the operation, Mr Kwabena Apau Anto, the Chief Revenue Officer at GRA and the Head of Excise Unit, said the exercise which started early this year with major shops and supermarkets has now reached the restaurants and hotels.
He said the focus is now on restaurants and hotels because these are places that people patronise some of these products and we are keen to ensure that anywhere that such products are sold, stamps were affixed to them.
He said officers were divided into six teams and had been tasked to ensure compliance in all restaurants and hotels within Accra and Tema adding that it would be extended to the other regions.
Mr Apau Anto said the GRA carried out the day’s exercise to also tell the public that it was not only the retail, wholesale shops or distributors who were to affix the stamps but anybody selling any of the affected products must have tax stamps affixed them.
He said the seized items would be used to calculate penalties up to 300 per cent payable by the companies as the unpaid duties and taxes on them.
He said the coming year would be interesting because all the issues surrounding the affixing of the tax stamps would have been dealt with and compliance would be stepped up as officers have been trained to continuously enforce compliance.
Mr Apau Anto said the GRA has been very gentle in the approach adopted to enforce compliance to the excise tax stamp because it has been said several times that companies with old stock should apply to GRA for free stamps.