From 1st May, 2021, all categories of taxes can be paid remotely, through the Ghana.gov platform and other automated channels.
According to the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA), the move is part of efforts to improve collections and remove all the challenges and human elements that impede payments.
Speaking on PM Express Business Edition, GRA Commissioner General, Rev Ammishaddai Owusu Amoah explained that “for the first time in history taxes will be paid by not walking into any of our offices in town.”
He added that this will make it easier for businesses to meet their tax obligations.
“You can also do it through all the banks on the Ghana.gov platforms” he told the host, George Wiafe.
The Commissioner-General also added that “we are even working to remove all tellers from offices in line with the full automation from next year”.
Property and rental tax collections
The GRA will also, from May, roll out an aggressive campaign to improve rental tax collections.
The Authority has already mapped out majority of properties in the capital and other regions to aid the implementation of this tax.
It is currently working with NACOB officials that will be deployed in collecting these taxes.
According to the Commissioner General, there is expected to be some huge boost in revenue in the coming months.
He added that “there is a lot of revenue out there, especially when it comes to this tax type and we should find some innovative ways to get it. we also expect owners will come out to voluntarily notify the Ghana Revenue Authority about these properties to avoid paying penalties.”
Ghana Card and Revenue Mobilisation
The Ghana Revenue Authority from April 1, 2021 started accepting the Ghana Card number for tax identification purposes. This is expected to fully replace the Tax Identification Number (TIN) after December 2021.
Figures from the Ghana Revenue Authority showed that as of the end of 2018, the country had raked in about 1.5 million people as registered tax payers. It shored up to 3.5 million and as of the end of 2020, the number stood at about 6.5 million registered tax payers.
The GRA is projecting some 13 million registered tax payers after the full implementation of the project.
The Commissioner General noted “we are sure of meeting the projected revenue target of GH¢55.8 billion for this year.”
“We have done the simulations and we are sure and optimistic about how the Ghana Card change the numbers and impacted on revenue”, he added.
As part of efforts to expand the tax net, the Authority is also working with various professional bodies, which will make tax payments as one of the requirements of members in good standing.
Dealing with tax compliance challenge
The Ghana Revenue Authority last year rolled out a lot of strategies, aimed at encouraging tax compliance among businesses in the country.
One of them included the voluntary whistle blower reward strategy.
The programme was aimed at allowing people to come forward and report persons and businesses that are not paying their taxes, but the Commissioner says progress has been made, with whistle blowers getting as much as GH¢40,000 as reward.
The extractive sector, ports and collections
The Ghana Revenue Authority also announced that it will be going after some multinational firms in the extractive sector that have evaded taxes.
“We will not hesitate to withhold the tax clearance certificates of these firms that have failed to pay taxes due the state,” he told JoyNews.
The Authority is working to plug all the loop holes in the Oil Marketing space to ensure that all the players pay the required taxes to the state.
According to Rev Ammishaddai Owusu Amoah, these measures will ensure that every oil marketing firm pays the required tax.
On Fuel smuggling, the Ghana Revenue Authority also added that they are currently working with all the security agencies to deal with this challenge adding that “we are committed to dealing with this challenge once and for all and that should be seen as promise.”
The Authority is also working with the Financial Intelligence Centre to also deal with money laundering in the other sectors, whiles the Bank of Ghana concentrates on the banking sector.
On the ports the Commissioner General noted that it has made progress in dealing with all the concerns identified as well as closing all the gaps. This he believes will contribute to an improve revenue by the end of this year.
New Revenue Measures outlined in 2021 budget
Rev. Owusu Amoah noted that the laws will become effective as soon as parliament passes the bill and gets the President’s approval.
He said the various taxes have some specific dates attached to them, as the public will be made known and the implementation carried out.
According Ministry of Finance, the new tax measures outlined in the budget should bring in a little above GH¢5 billion.
Revenue Performance for 2020
The Commissioner General of the Ghana Revenue Authority attributes the growth in the revenue numbers for 2020 to the change in approach and some strategies adopted by workers in mobilising revenue.
This came on the back of a challenging business environment.
Government initially targeted GH¢47.2 billion, but was later revised to GH¢42.7 billion which the Authority outperformed by GH¢2.6 billion.