GRA Urged to Issue Reminders to Taxpayers
“GRA should work with the telecommunication companies to generate a contact database of taxpayers to whom automatic reminders about tax due dates will be frequently sent well ahead of time.”
These are the words of Mr. Benjamin Boakye, the Executive Director of Africa Centre for Energy Policy (ACEP).
He believes this would address the challenge of late filling and non-payment of tax returns in the country.
Addressing stakeholders at a workshop in Accra, he explained “the reminders should contain information about sanctions for late payment or non-payment. This must be done concurrently with an aggressive media campaign.”
Tax evasion has always been and still remains a nightmare for GRA in raising tax revenues for the country.
Ghana’s fiscal data between 2008 and November 2017 indicates that GRA has been unable to increase and sustain the momentum of tax revenue growth rate, although tax revenue generation increased year on year.
However, the policy think tank believes the authority should be blamed for the inherent gaps in the country’s tax administration system.
According to him, GRA’s inability to provide timely and adequate guidance to taxpayers contributes to the challenge of late filling of tax in the country.
“GRA fails to aggressively pursue field but unpaid tax returns which are not in dispute, as well as outstanding conceded tax returns that are in dispute. Consequently, penalties and interests on late payment cannot be enforced against the tax payer,” he mentioned.
He stressed that the poor coordination and communication among GRA’s segmented office structures also affects tax enforcement.
Mr. Boakye recommended that the authority should re-adopt reporting lines to the challenges on the ground to address the coordination problems that accompany the segmentation of the structures.
The workshop was attended by stakeholders from Ghana Revenue Authority, and the Department for International Development (DFID).
The objective of the workshop was to identify key inherent gaps in the country’s tax administration system that allows tax evasion schemes to prevail, and also to make some recommendations that address the challenges.
By: Emmanuel Yeboah Britwum