GRA now running a self-assessment regime-Asare

By
Belinda Ayamgha, GNA

Accra, Aug. 20, GNA – The Ghana Revenue
Authority (GRA) has called on its clients to correctly carry their
self-assessment obligations and file the appropriate returns when due,
stressing that the Authority will no longer carry out desk audits for its clients.

Speaking to the GNA at a day’s seminar
organised by the Osu Medium Taxpayers’ Office (MTO) for taxpayers and
consultants, Mr Joseph Asare, Head of Audit at the Osu MTO, said since the
coming into force of the new Income Tax Act, Act 896 in January 2016, taxpayers
were required to file tax estimates for the year to the GRA and also determine
the amount of tax to be paid, based on their own assessments.

The estimates are then divided into four and
payments made at the end of every quarter and the taxpayer can revise these
estimates at any point in the year, up to December 31.

He said the GRA in employing the
self-assessment method did not expect 100 percent accuracy and therefore allows
a 10 percent margin of error; the final declaration should be at least 90
percent correct.

“If you are 80 percent correct, it means you
were not truthful in your declaration because you had up to even 31st December
to alter it. We want that you will be 90 percent truthful with us and pay the
taxes alongside” he stated.

He said the GRA would come to the taxpayer’s
premises to audit the estimates and declarations that has been submitted to it
in order to verify what has been submitted. He noted that where a taxpayer was
found to have been untruthful in his or her declarations, sanctions will be
applied.

These sanctions include penalties for
under-declarations, interests on the tax payable, imposition of a triple
penalty of the tax where the under-declaration has been wilful, and in some
cases prosecution at the law court.

Mr Lawrence Hotsonyame, who took
participants through portions of the Income Tax Act 896, tax reliefs and
capital allowance provisions in the Act, said income, under the Act was
categorised into three main classes:  employment
income, business income and investment income, which now includes lottery
winnings.

He said the aggregation of these three
streams of income makes up a taxpayer’s assessable income, while chargeable
income is the assessable income minus allowable deductions.

Mr Hotsonyame said such allowable deductions
under the new Act include interest payments on loans for production of income,
repairs and improvements, research the, capital allowance, losses on the
realisation of assets and liabilities.

He said it also allows all taxpayers to
carry forward losses from business or investment, up to three years and five
years for priority sectors.

Mr Lawrence Hotsonyame said that the new Act
gave taxpayers more relief in this regard, adding that it also increased the
debt-to-equity ratio for companies from 2:1 to 3:1. He also highlighted that
side the reliefs enjoyed by institutions and companies, individuals were also
entitled to some personal reliefs which they can either claim upfront or at the
end of the year, depending on the type of relief.

He said these personal reliefs include
marriage and responsibility relief for individual with a dependent spouse or at
least two dependent children in the sum of GH₵ 200 per annum, Disabled-
elief-25 percent of Assessable Income from business or employment, old age
relief (GH₵ 100), child education relief up to three children, GH₵ 200 per
child, aged dependents (GH₵ 100 cedis each), cost of training relief (GH₵ 400
per annum) and mortgage interest relief.

He said when taxpayers who are eligible for
any these personal reliefs claim them, it may move them from a higher tax
bracket to a lower tax bracket.

GNA

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