The Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) has complained about the unwillingness of many income earners in the Cape Coast Metropolis to pay tax.
Mr. George Amankwa Boateng, Assistant Commissioner at the Medium Tax Office, said the tax revenue base had not seen any significant expansion over the past years, while the revenue envelope had kept constricting in the area.
The situation, he added, was completely unacceptable, stating “The expectation was that the tax base and the revenue envelope should be expanding and increasing respectively, as the years went by. This had not been the case in the metropolis”.
Amankwa Boateng said the reluctance of the people to pay tax was the only reasonable explanation.
“Some of them are really doing well but not ready to pay taxes.”
Speaking at a press soiree organised by the GRA in Cape Coast, Mr Boateng expressed optimism that things were going to change with the introduction of the excise tax stamp and the withholding VAT.
He indicated that those policy initiatives would go a long way to enlarge the revenue envelope, something which was “extremely desirable”.
He repeated that the implementation of the excise tax stamp was not an introduction of a new tax, but a new way of administering the already existing tax to aid the GRA to effectively check the payment of excise tax – to make sure that the correct amount was paid.
The Excise Tax Stamp Policy Act 2013 was passed following stakeholder consultations to check under-declaration by importers and manufacturers, control the importation and local production of excisable goods for revenue and health purposes, check illicit trading, smuggling, counterfeiting of goods and ultimately protect and increase tax revenue.
He encouraged taxpayers to take advantage of the tax amnesty to voluntarily file their returns and advised the general public to only buy products with the excise tax stamp on them.
Mr. Isaac Boakye, Senior Revenue Officer at the Small Taxpayer Office, in Cape Coast, said the rationale behind the introduction of Tax Identification Number (TIN) was to expand the tax net to capture all potential taxpayers.
It would allow the GRA to monitor all transactions entered into by taxpayers.
He warned that persons who failed to secure the TIN would not be able to transact business with government and would be refused tax clearance certificates.