Only Six Million Ghanaians Pay Income Tax – GRA
Only six million Ghanaians, out of the 14 million registered taxpayers, actually filed their taxes at the end of March this year, according to the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA).
The Commissioner-General of the GRA, Ammishaddai Owusu-Amoah, disclosed this on Wednesday, July 21, at a forum organised by the Ghana National Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GNCCI).
Owusu-Amoah was briefing the audience on the ongoing campaign to integrate the National Identification (Ghana Card) number and the Tax Identification Number (TIN). Ghanaians will no longer need to keep a unique TIN as the Ghana Card gradually becomes a supreme form of identification.
According to the GRA boss, so far, 14 million unique tax numbers have been merged with Ghana Cards. However, of these individuals, only a mere 43% have fulfilled their legitimate income taxes by filing returns.
Those who have presumably not paid their taxes, Owusu-Amoah said, included lawyers, doctors and accountants who reside in some of the most affluent places in Ghana, especially in the capital city.
The GRA also knows that the category of those who have not fulfilled the payment of their income taxes are aged between 35 and 65 years.
Ghana’s chief tax collector explained:
With our current database, we have people who are above the age of 35 years and those below the age of 65 who reside [in] the top 10 affluent communities in the country such as Labone, East Legon and Cantonments and yet they do not file their annual tax returns. Fortunately for us we have their contacts, GPRS address and their locations and so we will encourage people to voluntarily comply with the law.
But Owusu-Amoah was also quick to add that it was possible the aforelisted people were not necessarily dodging “their taxes but rather they may have paid and have not filed them individually. In such a situation, the person needs to be engaged to ascertain the reason”.
Meanwhile, the Deputy Minister of Finance, Abena Osei-Asare has warned that the government will embark on an aggressive domestic revenue mobilization drive to mitigate the impact of COVID-19 on the economy.
This drive means that the “government will introduce tax policies between 2021 and 2023 to bridge the deficit created by the impact of COVID-19,” she stated emphatically.
She said the government was aggressively working to increase the country’s gross domestic product (GDP) from 13% to 20% by the end of 2023.