" This is testament of the work we have done. We have collected over GHC119 million already, and this are debts collected on the spot"- Theophilus Gaskin
The Ghana Revenue Authority Special Revenue Mobilisation Taskforce has recovered over GHC119 million of taxes defaults to the GRA since its inauguration in August 2015.
In an interview on Radio Univers' business discussion program, Business Trends, the Chief Revenue Officer of the taskforce, Theophilus Gaskin expressed satisfaction at the results chalked so far, and pledged commitment to even do more.
" This is testament of the work we have done. We have collected over GHC119 million already, and this are debts collected on the spot".
The Chief Revenue Officer sought to draw attention to the rippling effects the revenue mobilisation exercise will have on the tax paying culture of businesses operating in Ghana.
" For me the true value is the rippling effect this exercise will have on the tax paying habits of other businesses. From the work we have done, many more people will pay taxes, knowing very well that we will come for them, if they don't pay their taxes."
The Informal Sector
The Taskforce will now turn its attention and resources to the informal sector. Coordinator of the Special Revenue Mobilisation Taskforce, Henry Sam revealed that the biggest defaults were in the corporate income tax sector.
" This is when sole proprietors are required to pay taxes on thier profits or personal income from their businesses. We have seen a trend of defaults in this sector. We will prioritized this sector, and ensure all the defaults are paid up."
Defaults on withholding taxes have also been identified as a problem area. Under withholding taxes businesses are required to withold 5 percent of all monies paid to suppliers of goods and services. They are also required to divuldged data of such service providers, no matter the sector the operate in, whether formal or informal, to the Ghana revenue authority.
According to Mr. Henry Sam, companies are not complying with that aspect of the law.
" Businesses are supposed to take and file these returns as is stipulated by law. But we find that they collect them alright, but add them to their capital. It is the same for the Value Added Tax. They do not comply, even though they charge, they don't pay to government. We are sounding a word of caution to all businesses involved in such illegality."
80% of Ghana's economy lies in the informal sector. This has posed a problem in terms of tax enforcement and collection.
But Tax Lawyer and consultant, Abdulai Ali- Nakyea says the proper enforcement of Withholding Taxes will be a viable solution to the problem of a non-existing database for the informal sector.
" It is the simple. Withholding Taxes present an opportunity to establish a proper database of the informal sector. Once businesses and individuals comply with the withholding taxes, they will forward the necessary data to the GRA, be it the name and address of the artisan they used, or the construction company who did their office extention. All the GRA has to do is to enforce, and make proper use of the data."