As part of its efforts aimed at strengthening effective tax payment compliance for the Ghanaian citizens, Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) yesterday launched the 2018 national tax campaign in Accra, with a call on business entities to desist from under declaring of tax returns to gain much revenue for accelerated national development.
Consequently, the authority indicated its commitment and preparedness to embark on a name-and-shame campaign to expose many Ghanaian tax defaulters and also prosecute them to serve as a deterrent to others.
The authority noted that its core aim is to scale up awareness and also promote early payment of taxes by every eligible citizen for national development and warned that it was a punishable offence to under-declare tax returns.
The GRA pointed out that only 20 per cent of Ghanaians pay taxes to the government; saying that the minority of the tax payment defaulters was from the informal sector which situation was adversely affecting national development.
Against this background, the GRA encouraged all taxpayers to honour their tax obligations to avoid paying interests and penalties or face court action, adding that persons or businesses that fail to meet the deadline would be liable to pay interest on each month or part of a month for which any part of the tax is outstanding.
It charged Ghanaians to inculcate the habit of voluntarily filing their tax returns and keep proper records of their business transactions to enable them to receive the needed direction and incentives for the country.
The Commissioner-General of GRA, Mr Emmanuel Kofi Nti, issued the warning at the launch of the 2018 tax campaign which was attended by a cross-section of taxpayers who were mostly entrepreneurs, trade associations, academic institutions; wholesalers and retailers which sought to broaden engagement with stakeholders towards improved tax and revenue mobilisation in the country.
The tax campaign, which was third in the series, was on the theme: “Our Taxes, Contribute to Building Ghana.”
According to him, GRA has strengthened its strategies to block avenues of evading taxes and collection through a modernised system dubbed: ‘Total Revenue Integrated Processing System (TRIPS).
In this regard, Mr Nti urged Ghanaians, particularly business owners, to register for the unique Tax Identification Number (TIN) that will enable businesses to transact business with ease.
The Revenue Administration Act enjoins every taxpayer to register for the TIN to enable them to transact businesses, clear goods at the ports, file case in court, receive payment from controller Accountant General Department, he explained.
He further stressed the need for Ghanaians to exhibit patriotism by paying their taxes promptly since their taxes help to build Ghana.
According to him, the authority in collocation with the ministry of information, Information Service Department and NCCE will continue to carry out tax education within communities in the country to get citizens to honour their tax obligation for national development.
For her part, Deputy Minister of Finance, Mrs Abena Osei Asare, called on taxpayers to see tax payment as a civic responsibility and desist from attacking revenue collection officers.
She thanked the GRA for the launch of the tax campaign and tasked the revenue agencies to foster partnership with local businesses to create more understanding on the relevance of paying taxes.