GRA closes cold stores for non-payment of taxes
The Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) has closed down two industrial cold stores at the Tema Fishing Harbour for evading taxes amounting to GH¢2,890,392 in the last five years.
The two cold stores, Adom Mbroso Cold Stores Limited and Paradise Fisheries Limited, owe the state GH¢2,O53, 822.58 and GH¢836,569.50 respectively.
The exercise was jointly undertaken by a team from the Compliance Enforcement Debt Management Unit of the GRA in Accra and the police.
The Principal Revenue Officer, Mr Gershon Akpabli, who led the team, said both companies defaulted in the payment of tax and that all efforts made since 2008 to recover the debt had proved futile.
He also said the GRA had on numerous occasions sent demand notices and reminders, made phone calls, dialogued with the management of the companies and served them with warnings.
He stressed that ‘the only alternative left for us to retrieve the money is through distress action’. That, he said, included the seizure of the properties of a business, or complete closure of the premises until full payment of the debt was made.
Mr Akpabli noted that the amount included the cost and incidental charges to the distress and indicated that in accordance with Sections 241 and 279(6) of the Customs, Excise and Preventive Service (Management) Law, 1993 (PNDCL 330), the property might be sold if the amount due in respect of the tax, interest or penalties were not paid within 21 days of the distress.
In an earlier briefing, the Assistant Commissioner at the Debt Management & Compliance Enforcement Unit of the GRA, Mr Maxwell Tsatsu, urged the general public to comply with the tax law. He advised all taxpayers who owed the authority to make efforts to pay or make the necessary arrangements to offset their indebtedness to the GRA, adding that recalcitrant taxpayers would be arraigned.
Mr Tsatsu cautioned taxpayers against issuing non-official receipts to their customers. He also advised withholding agents who held monies on behalf of the government, in terms of payee, rent income, or holding tax on goods on services, to pay on time to avoid penalties.
The Assistant Commissioner noted that the government, through the GRA, would always ensure that service providers did not rob the state of revenue, which he said was critical in the socio-economic development of the nation.
By Emmanuel Baah/Daily Graphic/Ghana
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