The Western Regional Medium Taxpayer office of the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) in 2010 was able to collect GH¢14.8million — exceeding its target by 26.78 % over and above the set target of GH¢11.7million.

“In 2011 the office was able to collect GH¢25.5billion, representing 45.2 % and exceeding the target of 17.8% which was given to us,” Mr.  Abeiku Cudjoe, the Western Regional Head of Medium Taxpayer Office of GRA told B&FT in an interview.

 “For the first quarter of this year, out of the target of GH¢5.56million we have been able to collect GH¢8.24 — therefore exceeding the target of 47.94 % for the period.

He pointed out that the second and third quarters are going to be challenging, which is when the substantial amount is collected — this year, GRA is targetting traders who are in the habit of submitting nil returns or do not submit their return at all, “Non Filers”.

“We are going to visit them and find out what exactly the problem is and if there are challenges.  We will address them and educate them on the need to submit their returns as well as ensure GRA invoices are issued to customers that purchase their goods,” he added.
“We will be intensifying our compliance by visiting shops periodically, as well as intensifying our audit as a means of and checking whether the declarations they make are actually correct and are in line with what GRA expects,” he added.

He added that traders that are doing business, especially dealing in taxable goods, and have not registered will also be registered during the third quarter of the year.

He said the office will embark on mass collection exercise to meet the set target for the year: “Some of the traders also feel reluctant to pay their taxes; if there is the need to close their shops during collection we will, to ensure compliance.”

In a related development, the Western Regional Office of the Small Tax Payer of the GRA, formerly Internal Revenue Service (IRS), in 2010 collected GH¢58.17million as against target of GH¢54.88million representing an increase of 6%.

However, in 2011 the office missed its target marginally by 1.17 % — GH¢75.95million — and were able to collect GH¢75.06million.

Explaining, Mr. Peter Ben Baah, the Head of Small Tax Payer Office for Western and Central Regions, said last year most of the big companies revised their self-assessment: “We allowed them to give their own assessment at the beginning of that year, hence the reduction in our target.”

This year, he said, the office has set a target of GH¢96.87million – “So far, we have been able to collect GH¢18.35million for the first quarter”.

He noted that identifying individuals in the informal sector and assessing them for tax is sometimes a challenge, but the zonal collection team is working to ensure that everybody is covered within the year.

Also, he said, logistics and the bad nature of some roads in the Western Region affect operations, and expressed the hope that if such issues are addressed there will be improvement for the sector.

He said GRA has started with registration and re-registration of businesses: before registering for your business, you are required to get a new Tax Identification Number (TIN) from GRA.

He advised those who have already registered their business and do not have the new TIN to go to any of the GRA offices across the country for a form, which is free, and fill it in as well as submit it to have your new TIN.

By Juliet AGUIAR, Takoradi

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