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General News of Monday, 15 July 2019

Source: Myjoyonline.com

Obinim fights GRA over GHC769,000 unpaid taxes

The Presiding Bishop of the International Godsway Church, Bishop Daniel Obinim, has sued the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) over “unlawful imposition of taxes on him.”

He has disputed the more than ?769,000 in unpaid taxes slapped on him by the GRA on December 18, 2018.

According to the writ, the disputed amount is a four-year accumulation of unpaid taxes between 2014 and 2018.

The taxes were levied on a 21-block property which he rents out as shops and also a hospitality facility, Abroso Guest House Ltd.

The GRA wants him to pay ?28,900 in rent taxes over the period and ?690,900 in total Value Added Tax (VAT) charged for the period January 1, 2016, to July 31, 2018, from the business operations of Abroso Guest House Limited which GRA believes the pastor owns.

But his legal team, led by Ralph Poku-Adusei in the writ explained, Bishop Obinim has disputed the claims made by the revenue authority.

The writ narrated, at Economic and Organised Crime Office (EOCO) intervention in July 2018, a tax audit was conducted which concluded, Obinim was to pay ?39,555 as rent taxes for the said period and not ?28,900.

According to Obinim’s counsel, the audit also concluded, Abroso Guest House did not belong to his client. Obinim was just one of three directors and could therefore not be liable for the taxes levied.

The writ says, Obinim acting through his assistant, Kwadwo Adu Boahen, paid the reviewed taxes at the GRA office in Community 1, Tema and was issued receipts of payment.

The writ says he was invited to the GRA office in Tema on April 4, 2019, where he was to learn to his surprise that the GRA still expects him to pay outstanding taxes on rent as well as the guest house.

His assistant who attended the meeting, showed receipts of payment and also company registration documents proving that Bishop Obinim was not liable to paying the said tax on Abroso Guest house.

But after the meeting, he learnt this after trying to access his account on June 3, 2019, that his accounts at Fidelity Bank had been blocked on the orders of GRA, the writ says.

The GRA Commissioner-General had issued a Garnishment notice, asking Fidelity Bank to pay more than ?769,000 from the pastor’s account.

He said the GRA failed to alert him of the Garnishment notice neither could their officers justify the action. The client wants the court to set aside and/or strike out the Garnishment Notice issued by the GRA.