5 Arrested over tax evasion
The Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA), in collaboration with the police, has arrested five managers of shopping malls for allegedly evading taxes and failing to issue certified Value Added Tax (VAT) invoices.
The electronic version of the VAT receipt popularly referred to as the e-VAT is usually used by shopping malls and companies that use teller machines.
Those arrested were managers of shops which were part of 40 companies sampled by officials of the Domestic Revenue Division of the GRA in a special tax compliance exercise to enforce the law in Accra.
The shops involved are the Palace Shopping Mall, Fresh First Limited at Second Cup located in the Palace Mall, Sneda Shopping Mall and China Mall, all on Spintex Road, and Shoprite at the Junction Mall, Nungua.
A special task force undertook the exercise yesterday.
At the China Mall, the team found out that it was not issuing the e-VAT invoice, while the Palace Mall was issuing receipts with a duplicate signature of the Commissioner-General of the GRA.
The team also found that the e-VAT invoices being issued at the Sneda Shopping Mall were not GRA certified, while Fresh Start Limited was not issuing invoices at all, with Shoprite at the Junction Mall issuing invoices without the QR code linked with the e-VAT system.
The unannounced exercise, unlike previous ones, was without verbal exchanges and sometimes the use of force, or the media filming the shops or offices.
Those arrested were later taken to the Ministries Police Station where their statements were taken.
They were each cautioned and granted police enquiry bail for investigations to continue.
Briefing journalists ahead of the operation, the Commissioner of the Domestic Tax Revenue Division of the GRA, Edward Appenteng Gyamerah, said under Section 41 of the Value Added Tax Act 2013, (Act 870) as Amended by Act 1082 and Act 1087, every registered VAT taxpayer was required to issue an electronic VAT invoice with details that were prescribed by the Commissioner-General when they provided services or supply of goods.
He said the GRA had found that some taxpayers were issuing invoices that were not certified by the Commissioner-General as required by law.
Mr Gyamerah said investigations revealed that some taxpayers were engaged in the issuance of false tax invoices or sales receipts, while others had failed to integrate the certified invoicing system into the invoicing system of the GRA.
He said the GRA had sent out its officials across the country to fish out companies which were not complying with the law.
“The Commissioner-General will prosecute all persons found to have committed offences under the provisions of the tax laws,” he said and urged the public and VAT taxpayers to inform the authority if companies they dealt with failed to issue the certified VAT invoice.
The Manager of the Enforcement Unit of the Accra Central Area Domestic Tax Office of the GRA, Joseph Annan, said the e-VAT invoicing system was rolled out on October 1, 2022, and “we have been monitoring the 50 taxpayers who have been hooked onto the system”.
He said the exercise was ongoing and officials of the authority were still in the field.