The Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) has set a provisional tax revenue target of GH₵60 billion for 2021, representing a 32.3 percent increase over the 2020 actual collection of GH₵45.338 billion.
Rev. Ammishaddai Owusu-Amoah, the Commissioner-General, who announced this at a media soiree, said although the task appeared daunting, the GRA would implement innovative measures to meet the target.
Among the measures to achieve the 2021 revenue target are the Introduction of New Excise Tax Stamps with enhanced security features, which are difficult to duplicate from the 1st of January, 2021.
Rev. Owusu-Amoah said the GRA had adopted strict measures for the distribution and monitoring of the stamps to ensure that only recognized manufacturers and importers of excisable products receive them and that they are all duly accounted for.
He said, however, that the old and new stamps would both be in circulation until the old stamps were out of stock.
Also, the GRA in collaboration with the National Identification Authority and other relevant stakeholders are working to ensure that Ghana card Unique Identification Number replaces the Taxpayer Identification Number (TIN) with effect from April 1, 2021.
In this direction, the Commissioner-General said taxpayers would be required to use the Ghana Card Identity Number for tax purposes as well.
“This replacement of identification will enable the organisations share important data and also help identify and rope in eligible taxpayers, especially in the informal sector,” he said.
Taxpayers will also not spend time in acquiring TINs as they will use the Ghana Card Identity Number for tax purposes, he added.
Rev. Owusu-Amoah said the GRA would step up efforts to tax players in the e-commerce market, which sector has been a challenge over the years, using staff with the requisite training to enable them to identify players in the sector for tax purposes.
Rev. Owusu-Amoah said the nationwide restructuring of Domestic Tax Revenue Division would be fully completed in the first quarter of 2021 with the aim to create offices not on the basis of turnover as it was previously but rather based on jurisdiction.
“This review will bring our services closer to our taxpayers for improved compliance and service delivery,” he said.
Rev. Owusu-Amoah said the GRA would deploy Information Technology tools in its digitization drive with the rollout of the next phases of IT systems that were deployed in 2020 such as ITaPS and ICUMS to make it more convenient for taxpayers to honour their tax obligations and also to prevent tax evasion and avoidance.
In this direction, the GRA is helping to build the capacity of staff in the area of Information Communication Technology (ICT), one of our donor partners KFW is helping with the construction of an IT Training Institute.
On the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), the Commissioner-General said AfCFTA trade through ICUMS commenced on the 18th of January 2021.
Per the initiative, Customs will implement six of the agreements namely; Tariffs schedule, Rules of Origin, Customs Cooperation & Mutual Administration Assistance, Trade facilitation, Non-Tariff Barriers and Transit.
He said although this might not have a direct revenue benefit, it was expected to create job opportunities through increased trade.
The GRA would carry out enhanced tax education exercises to help inform taxpayers on their rights and obligations, processes and procedures, among others, all aimed at ensuring voluntary tax compliance.
In the light of COVID-19, virtual tax education will also be used to complement the other modes of education. To complement our tax education efforts, we will also focus on excellent customer care.
“Our aim is to delight our customers even as they discharge their civic responsibilities,” he said.
The commissioner-General said the GRA would in 2021 step up the prosecution of tax defaulters and persons who infringe on tax laws with the launch of a dedicated and special court for tax cases, as well as the recruitment of more professionals to join the Prosecutions Unit.
“With these structures in place, we would like to sound a strong word of caution to tax defaulters and persons who indulge in fraudulent tax practices that they will be prosecuted expeditiously according to the tax laws,” he said.
Rev. Owusu-Amoah said the GRA High Net Worth Unit has also been established to deal with the tax affairs of persons, including musicians, actors and actresses, pastors, and international footballers.
This Unit’s mandate is to identify, locate, profile and assess these high-net-worth persons to tax.
He said GRA would also engage various government and private institutions to obtain data on activities on taxable persons.
“We have also employed Data Scientists and Data Analytic officers. All these will enable us analyse and compare data from other institutions to uncover non-compliant Taxpayers,” he said, adding that ultimately all these measures would help the GRA meet its target.