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Business News of Friday, 22 June 2012

Source: GNA

Tax payers to benefit from self assessment regime

Mr. Kwasi Oppong Damoah, Assistant Commissioner at the Medium Tax payer Office (MTO) in Accra, has observed that the Self Assessment (SA) Regime would not only encourage voluntary compliance by tax payers, but it would also give them greater equity and fairness.

He explained that self assessment “applies to persons who pay tax by installment, and have been permitted by the Commissioner General (CG) to estimate their chargeable incomes and the tax payable thereon for the year of assessment.”

Mr. Damoah was speaking on the topic: “Guidelines for the Preparation of Self Assessment/Revised Self Assessment Returns,” at a day’s seminar for traders and tax payers from the Tema Metropolis.

He said that tax payers would be required to fulfill their tax obligations by computing their own liabilities and submitting Self Assessment Returns, which would be accepted subject to verification by the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) on the accuracy and completeness of the items on the returns.

He said that since tax authorities did not have adequate resources and capacities to assess every tax liability of every tax payer, resources would have to be focused on areas of significant risk, thus allowing tax payers to do the forecasting, estimating and computing their own tax liabilities.

Mr. Damoah said under the SA Regime, as required by Section 78 of Internal Revenue Act 2000, ACT 592, tax payers are allowed not only to submit to the CG, estimates of their chargeable incomes before the beginning of the basis period, but to also revise their estimates when in the course of the year, it is detected that the initial estimates may be incorrect.

On the question of whether a self assessing tax payer could be assessed provisionally, he said that the CG could assess a self assessing tax payer provisionally if he or she failed to furnish the CG with an estimate, or if the CG was not satisfied with the estimate or revised estimate.

Mr Damoah explained that tax payers who consistently file verifiable estimate of chargeable income, are able to support estimate with own budget for the year of assessment and has good accounting and internal control systems and always got the Commissioner’s approval to self assess.

He cautioned that tax payers, who behaved recklessly by providing inaccurate, false or misleading statements in their self assessment return forms or set out to intentionally evade tax, would be penalized.

Mr. Damoah said that Act 592 was in the process of being amended to take account of the expected expansion in the SA regime, so that the scope of SA would cover all tax payers.

Madam Jemima Mills, Chief Revenue Officer, who spoke on “Integration and Modernization” said the unitization of tax administration under the GRA would help address pressures on Government, such as the need to deliver tax services more effectively and at a lower cost of collection and compliance.

On the question whether Integration was really necessary in Ghana, Madam Mills said that tax administration in the country was beset with challenges, and the integration would manage the operations of the domestic ax administration, and the Customs Service in a holistic manner.

She said the integration would also ensure reduced administrative and tax compliance cost, bring about better customer service delivery, eliminate duplication in support service functions, improve work ethics, and enhance revenue mobilization.

Mrs Nanzirata Duwiejua, Acting Assistant Commissioner in charge of the Tema MTO, said since it was GRA’s vision to be a world class revenue administration, management would ensure that the Authority’s valued customers were kept abreast with the times in order to become conversant with the operations of the tax regime.

During an open forum, the participants pleaded with management of the GRA to ensure that the bottlenecks and cumbersome procedures that characterized the old tax regime would be addressed, so that customers would easily process their tax documents.

Mr. Kwasi Asante-Gyimah, Deputy Commissioner at the MTO Headquarters, chaired the function.**

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