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GRA Urges Public Collaboration To Expose Tax Evaders

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Julie Essiam Newly Named Commissioner General Of Gra X
Julie Essiam Newly Named Commissioner General Of Gra X

Dominic Naab, Assistant Commissioner at the Commissioner General’s Secretariat- Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA), has called on Ghanaians to collaborate with the GRA to expose tax evaders, whose actions impede the country’s economic development.

“Persons who are hiding and earning income and not paying, let’s together expose them because they are not helping our economic development”, he remarked during a UK-Ghana Chamber of Commerce (UKGCC) webinar with PwC Ghana on “Tax Updates in Ghana’s 2024 Budget”.

To encourage the public’s collaboration on revenue mobilisation, Mr. Naab announced the existence of an “Informants’ Award” for persons who provide the GRA with information leading to the recovery of taxes.

He implored the public to take advantage of the award.

According to Mr. Naab, the GRA intends to continue its rigorous revenue mobilisation drive in 2024, adding that “we will not want to collect more than what the law requires of us to collect but we will also expect the public to cooperate with us”.

In the spirit of collaboration, partnership, and cooperation, he urged business owners to comply with tax laws and engage the GRA to resolve any tax-related issues they may encounter.

Ghana’s 2024 Budget: Policy, Administrative and Tax Reliefs

The 2024 revenue measures (policy) include the expansion of coverage of Gross Gaming Revenue and implementation of a 10% Withholding tax on lottery/gaming; review of selected VAT exemptions, introduction of Emissions Tax on industrial and vehicle emissions, implementation of the second phase of the Communications Service Tax, and the implementation of the Modified Taxation scheme, among others.

During his presentation, Daniel Nuer, Head of the Tax Policy Unit at the Ministry of Finance, noted that the second phase of the Communications Service Tax will be implemented this year and will cover internet service providers, and radio and TV broadcasters.

On the Administrative measures, Mr. Nuer indicated that the implementation of the Minimum Chargeable income will commence this year, while the second phase of the electronic invoicing system (EVAT) will be fully implemented this year.

The 2024 Budget also offers tax reliefs to businesses aimed at supporting Ghana’s local industry. The reliefs include an import duty waiver on agricultural machinery, equipment, and inputs not available locally.

There are also VAT exemptions on the importation of commercial electric buses for public transportation only, as well as an introduction of VAT zero rate for locally manufactured sanitary towels. The VAT zero rate for locally manufactured vehicles and textiles was also extended for a further two years.

Mr. Nuer encouraged webinar participants to peruse the 2024 – 2027 Medium Term Revenue Strategy – available on the Ministry of Finance’s website- and implored taxpayers to ensure that they follow tax rules.

“Everything will be done to support the taxpayers to comply…When we fail to comply, let us note that the due penalties will be imposed. It is an unpleasant duty that we will carry out.”

Expectations, Concerns and Challenges

Gifty Appiah, Associate Director-Tax Services at PwC Ghana and a panelist on the webinar, presented that “taxpayers feel a bit disappointed with the Budget”.

She highlighted incidences where businesses have had to fold because the tax costs no longer made their businesses viable, while others have been compelled to reduce their profit margins to stay competitive.

This in addition to uncertainty in the investor community due to a lack of clarity on when some measures will be introduced or implemented, and whether the systems that will support the implementation of the measures are ready.

According to Ms. Appiah, although taxpayers are disappointed, they know that “the government did not have a lot of wiggle room because of the situation that the economy is in”.

Mr. Nuer, however, assured the webinar that systems are in place to support the implementation of the measures.

Expanding the tax net

Mr. Naab was emphatic that the GRA is engaged in “visibly monumental” efforts to expand the tax net.

“We are all over the place doing education, talking to people, we have enforcement officers who are going around. As soon as we have any information about you, we try to get in touch”.

He, however, admitted that the GRA needs the cooperation of the public to identify persons operating outside the tax net.

“We need to work hand in gloves to build this country. I will not sit here and say that GRA has the magic wand to bring everybody on board. But we are doing our best and we also think that you have to also help us be able to get all persons registered. That would make our burden lighter”.

Laura Torgbenoo Fiagome, Associate Director, Tax Services at PwC, moderated the webinar which extensively discussed related topics including the Government’s fiscal policy objectives, 2024 macroeconomic targets, the emissions levy, the Special Voluntary Disclosure Programme, and how to verify security features on VAT invoices.

About the UKGCC

The UK-Ghana Chamber of Commerce (UKGCC) was established in 2016 to promote trade between the UK and Ghana. It is the leading UK business support organisation in Ghana.
The UKGCC provides exceptional support for its members through the sharing of knowledge and ideas, creating platforms for building stronger networks and providing linkages with Government and its agencies. One of its key foci is to see Ghana become a significant economic partner for the UK as an export market, import source, investment destination and vice versa. It exists to further the business interests of its members across both countries and create more business opportunities.

The Chamber is backed by the British and Ghana Governments through the UK-Ghana Business Council and the British Chambers of Commerce in the UK and is Africa Scotland Business Network Strategic Partner.

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