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The Assistant Commissioner of the Domestic Tax Division of the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA), Mr Edmond Gyamerah, has urged the government to establish a tax court to speedily prosecute tax defaulters. Speaking at the Ghana Tax Justice Coalition stakeholder forum in Accra last Tuesday, Mr Gyamerah said the speedy prosecution of tax evaders and defaulters would serve as a deterrent to individuals and institutions that intended to default in the payment of taxes.
He said although commercial courts were directly in-charge of tax offence in the country, the volume of work did not allow those courts to fully deal with tax dodgers.
The forum was organised by the Integrated Social Development Centre (ISODEC). It brought together stakeholders from civil society organisations, government agencies and the media.
“We need people who have specialised in tax issues to sit on tax cases. Apart from the establishment of the court, there is the need for such individuals to be trained and equipped with the authority to fully prosecute those who defraud the state of its revenue,” he said.
Mr Gyamerah said the country lost millions of cedis meant for developmental projects annually as a result of people using illegal means to evade tax payment.
“These people go unpunished because the procedure and the processes at the courts take too long. Nowadays, when you even tell somebody that you are taking him or her to court, it becomes a laughing matter because of the years it takes for cases to be fully addressed,” he noted.
Mr Gyamerah cited the interference of “highly ranked state officials” who defended tax defaulters as one of the challenges facing the Revenue Authority.
A Director of Ghana Chamber of Mines, Mr Sulemana Koney, reminded the government of the need to consult mining companies in the crafting of fiscal policies.
Source: Daily Graphic