Adnan Adams Mohammed
Ghana Revenue Authority has strengthened and increased the capacity of its Tax Audit and Quality Assurance Department to be able to do double-checking of accounts of companies and addressing complaints of small business owners of over-taxing against local tax auditors.
This is helpful in solving the persistent challenges of under-clearing and under-invoicing of some taxpayers and also to address the complaints of taxpayers.
The Authority says it will also help to detect on time any deliberate or oversight malpractices of companies to maximize tax collections. It will also be efficient in addressing clients’ complaints to ensure hassle-free tax system for all.
“With these, we believe it will help us to maximize tax collections to meet or exceed our target” Rev. Ammishaddai Owusu-Amoah, Commissioner General of GRA noted at a media interaction event organised by PRINPAG with support from GRA. He retorted that, “We are working hard to achieve the target or better exceed it through the implementation of policies.”
The Authority at the press event declared their preparedness and making maximum efforts through effectiveness and efficiency to exceed the revised tax revenue target set by the finance minister in the mid-year budget.
The government revised down the tax revenue target from GHC47.2 billion to GHC42.7 billion using the Coronavirus pandemic as an excuse.
According figures from GRA, half-year performance missed the target by a little over a billion Ghana cedis as it recorded GHC19.9 billion against the target of GHC21 billion. This was when the coronavirus pandemic was ravaging all sectors of the economy at its peak, during the second quarter from March to June.
Of this, the mining sector (which saw gold price appreciating continuously over the last months), the telecommunications sector (through the communication service) and the financial sector contributed mostly to the half year performance of tax revenues collected.
However, the excise duties, mostly on consumables such as soft drinks, water, alcohol and others, Pay As You Earn (PAYE) and income tax of SMEs underperformed during the half year.
The tax authority also indicated that the Integrated Tax Application Process System (ITAPS) introduced last year has already recorded about 6000 users with over 5000 users filing their taxes through the system.
First phase of the project targeted the Personal Income Tax category, with the second phase to be launched soon which will cover local companies and multinationals. The online tax payment system was introduced to help make tax filing easy and convenient to tax payers and also reduce the cost of compliance to the taxpayer.
The app is an e-services platform that will enable taxpayers to prepare, apply and receive GRA services online. With this, both individuals and companies will be able to file their annual tax returns at their own convenience. The app also allows, electronically, access to TAX Clearance Certificate (e-TCC) as well as Withholding Tax Credit Certificate (e-Tax Credit) and VAT Withholding Tax Credit Certificate (e-VAT Credit)
“ITAPS is a compliance tool and to that extent, it would improve on our revenue”, the Commissioner-General noted.