The Cape Coast South Taxpayer Service Centre (TSC) of the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) has launched its Tax and Good Governance Week with a call on defaulting taxpayers to leverage on the penalty and interest waiver to lessen their burden.
The Centre has also opened a tax clinic to register new taxpayers, educate the public and address tax issues from Tuesday, April 26 to Friday, April 29.
Mr Kenneth Victus Kofi Torbi, the Chief Revenue Officer, Cape Coast South TSC, said the waiver presented a great opportunity for defaulting taxpayers to offload a significant part of their liability, hence the need to apply.
He observed that penalties and interests formed nearly 50 per cent of most tax liabilities and that having them removed went with great benefit and relief to the taxpayer.
“The condition is that you must apply to the Commissioner-General with a plan on how you will pay the principal.”
“If you are paying for four months, it is within the domain of the Manager of the TSC. But if it is six months, it goes to the area director and above six months goes to the Deputy Commissioners. However, from 12 months onwards goes to the Commissioner-General,” he said.
The tax waiver is a waiver of penalties and interests on accumulated tax arrears up to December 2020 for persons who decide to pay the principal tax amount.
It forms part of government’s support to taxpayers to reduce the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. From an initial deadline of December 31, 2021, the waiver had been extended to the end of June this year.
Mr Torbi warned that there was penalty for failure to file returns and pay the appropriate taxes and the public should endeavour to honour their tax obligations on time.
He said the Government had made it very easy to file and pay taxes online, and that GRA had also formed a team of relationship officers to bond with and resolve the challenges of taxpayers.
He assured of the Authority’s resolve to ensuring that taxpayers were abreast of the tax laws and all other related developments.
The Rt. Reverend Richardson Aboagye Andam, the Bishop of the Cape Coast Diocese of the Methodist Church of Ghana, who launched the Week, urged citizens to think about the nation and acknowledge the importance of taxes to national development.
The act of evading taxes did not augur well for the country as it deprived the people from receiving the needed social amenities, he said.
“These taxes are good. It is good to contribute to the development we want to enjoy – the hospitals, education, roads, the offices and whatnots. If we can do that, it will help all of us,” the Rt. Rev. Aboagye Andam said.
“It is not only through paying your tithes and offerings that the Lord will bless you but also when you pay your taxes for it to be used to take care of the vulnerable in the society and develop the nation,” he added.
Ms Dorcas Brenda Asare, the Cape Coast Metro Director of Education, said many people did not appreciate the need to pay taxes and felt unnecessarily overburdened.
She, therefore, encouraged the GRA to intensify its education on the importance of paying taxes and how germane it was to building the nation.
“Anything that is worth sharing, let us continue to share with the populace so that they understand the issues better.”
Nana Pokoo-Aikins, the Central Regional Chairman of the Ghana Chamber of Commerce and Industry, assured the GRA of the regional business community’s support towards achieving its target.
He, therefore, urged the Authority to collaborate with the Chamber and the Ghana Union of Traders’ Association to impress upon the government to provide a better business climate.