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GRA intensifies efforts to expand tax net in informal sector, punish tax evaders

Source The Ghana Report

The Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) is intensifying efforts and commitment to expand the tax net in the informal sector under the modified tax system and other regimes to mobilize more revenue for the government.

The informal sector of the economy is said to be elusive in tax mobilization but the GRA says it is working to include persons who either evade or avoid taxes.

The Ashanti regional branch of the Authority embarked on a sensitization tour in some market centres in the region.

In Ghana, tax avoidance and evasion is widespread, mainly in the informal sector, in which 86% of the country’s workforce is employed.

Out of f the potential tax revenue to be collected from the informal sector, only a third is estimated to be collected annually.

The Ghana Revenue Authority is intensifying efforts to expand the tax base in the sector through its modified tax regime.

Dedicating the entire month of April to tax awareness, the Ashanti regional branch of the authority embarked on a sensitization campaign throughout major trading centers in the region.

Acting Chief Revenue Officer at the Taxpayer Service Centre, Jerry Adu Poku said the authority is working assiduously to include all tax avoiders and evaders into the database.

“We’ve taken addresses of those evading the taxes. We will go into our system and contact the people and register them. Those evading, we have upfront VAT payment at the port. We have tax system for the informal sector called modified taxation where they get to pay by installment. We’ve been taking it from them,” he said.

Spanning from Ejisu to Abuakwa and Suame, the GRA brought the tax collection and education closer to the populace where businesses were sensitized on filing returns on their taxes.

Under the theme; ‘Taxes and Good Governance’, the exercise is part of activities streamlined to enhance tax revenue collections for the government.

The GRA is advising business entities and individuals to conduct regular bookkeeping to facilitate easier tax calculations and exemptions.

“We need your bookkeeping to convince us that the threshold meets what you are being asked to pay. We are educating them on the need to keep records so we can see the turnover,” Principal Revenue Officer at the Suame area branch, Adu Asare, said.

Meanwhile, there are punitive measures to be meted out to persons who evade or avoid taxes.

“Once a taxpayer fails to file or commit any of the tax offenses you will be punished. The punishment could stem from fine or imprisonment,” Adu Asare said.

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