GRA begins process to prosecute tax defaulting OMCs
Oil Marketing Companies (OMCs) owing the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) taxes would have to answer in court in the coming weeks.
The GRA is finalising processes to prosecute the OMCs, some defaulting in taxes for many years.
The Commissioner-General of the GRA, Rev Ammishaddai Owusu Amoah, said he had engaged the Chief Justice to receive the needed support from the judiciary to ensure that the defaulting OMCs are made to face the full rigours of the law.
This is to ensure that the companies pay their taxes to shore up the country’s revenue to support development.
The move comes on the back of the recent exercise by the revenue authority, which saw outlets of OMCs closed down by GRA’s task force, resulting in other companies making efforts to clear their debts.
“We have got some positive responses from some affected oil marketing firms after the current exercise on the petroleum tax and other levies that were in debt. But let me use this opportunity to mention that we are moving into prosecution, and very soon we will start serving the recalcitrant ones [OMCs] that have failed to heed our [GRA] call,” he said.
“Let me caution that they [OMCs] should use this period to come to the GRA to clear their debts or face the law because we have already had a discussion with the relevant authorities and the Chief Justice to begin prosecution,” he added.
The Commissioner-General said this in an interview monitored by The Ghana Report on Joy FM on September 2.
GRA chases OMCs for defaulting in tax
In May, the Debt Management and Enforcement Unit resumed its debt distress action to recoup millions of accumulated petroleum taxes.
The premises of Grid Petroleum Ghana Limited and Sonnidom Petroleum were locked for defaulting in tax payment of more than GH¢1.2 million and GH¢862,000 respectively over a period of two years.
Other companies the task force chased were Santol Limited for owing GH¢57.39 million in taxes; Life Petroleum, GH¢1.14 million; Sawiz Petroleum, GH¢5.12 million; Delian and Co Limited, GH¢11.63 million; and Petra Energy, GH¢20.73 million.
The exercise, which lasted for more than six hours, enabled the taskforce to engage managers of these firms to have them honour their tax obligations as soon as possible.
Twenty-eight OMCs were cited in the Auditor-General’s report for failing to pay petroleum taxes on fuel they lifted between July 2018 and December 2019.
The taxes which are owed by these 28 OMCs totalled GH¢226.94 million.
Four other OMCs did not pay taxes on 59,713,090 litres of fuel products valued at GH¢5.45 million lifted at the Tema Oil Refinery (TOR) in 2018, and therefore the Auditor-General charged the Commissioner of Customs to recover that amount as well.
In the 2020 report on ministries, departments and agencies, it was revealed that 17 OMCs failed to pay their rescheduled debt of GH¢69.10 million granted by the Commissioner-General, thereby defaulting between 30 and 360 days.
“We urge the Commissioner-General to ensure that all OMCs who are indebted to GRA Customs Division make full payment of all their outstanding debts without any further delay,” the report stated.