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General News of Monday, 19 March 2012

Source: Al-Hajj

Revenue Authority Clamps Down On Tax Cheats

By Rowland Phillips-Addo

Information filtering in from the Domestic Tax Revenue Division of the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) indicates that through the Authority’s Tax Identification Number System (TIN) it will begin to clamp down on some businesses and individuals evading taxes in the country.

A source closed to the GRA disclosed to Al-Hajj that this will commence with the re-registration of individuals and institutions which will be made public soon. The TIN is a unique Identification Number issued to tax payers for official transactions such as the clearing of goods in commercial quantities from the ports and factories.

According to the Division, some companies and individuals have of late resorted to subtle ways to avoid honouring their tax obligations to the state. It has been discovered according to the Authority that, some individuals and companies have more than one TIN, making it extremely difficult to trace them for purposes of taxation. In this regard the GRA under the E-Gov project has sent new registration forms to many of the district tax offices and will soon announce the date for the new registration to begin. The exercise according to The Al-Hajj source will cover just Accra and Tema for now before a national programme is rolled out. The Acting Commissioner –Domestic Tax Revenue Division, Comfort Boahene-Osafo, later told the Al-Hajj in a telephone interview that her outfit has taken serious note of the activities of such companies and individuals and has initiated moves to clean up the system.

“We have identified most of these companies and people and we are sure that this system will work. Latest in the next few weeks we can start with the programme and this will enhance the collection of taxes in the country,” she said. The Revenue Authority (GRA) expects over 35% growth in revenue for 2012, betting on intensified arrears collection and monitoring to ensure compliance by large tax payers.

GRA Commissioner- General, George Blankson also has in a separate telephone interview indicated that management is devising strategies to increase revenue mobilization.

He said “the GRA would focus attention on streamlining the operations of the customs bonded warehouses, VAT refunds, issuance of permits and the communications service tax to boost revenue collection”.

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