President Files Tax Returns

President John Mahama filling the tax returns form in the Kinbu District office of the Domestic Tax Revenue Division of the GRA

President John Mahama filling the tax returns form in the Kinbu District office of the Domestic Tax Revenue Division of the GRA

The filing of the tax was witnessed by some top commissioners of GRA.

He also paid a brief working visit to the Authority.

By law, the President, under Article 68 sub section five of the 1992 Constitution, is exempt from paying taxes but the President is expected to file his returns on any extra income earned annually.

It is reported that the President earned extra income from the sale of his Book ‘My First Coup D’état’ and his involvement in agriculture.

The annual deadline to file one’s income tax return is April each year however the GRA lists scenarios for which Tax Day does not follow this standard deadline.

President Mahama, after receiving his tax clearance certificate from the Commissioner of the Large Tax Payers Unit, Comfort Boahene, said the Authority is critical for the running of governments as it raises revenue needed for the improvement of the lives of the citizenry.

‘Revenue is what gives us the good things we want. The roads do not appear magically, we need revenue to build them.’

He noted that Ghana appears to have very low revenue to GDP ratio as compared to other African countries.

‘Kenya’s revenue to GDP is about 24 percent while that of Ghana is about 17 to 18 per cent. We have to move beyond 20 per cent.’

In line with this, the President said there were plans to pass legislation that would bring more people into the tax net.

He commended the GRA for collaborating with the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning to help advance the economic progress of the nation.

‘We will come up with reforms to help with the system of collection of revenue.

He however urged the management of the GRA to sensitize its staff ‘to embrace the change when it happens.’

George Blankson, Commissioner General of the GRA, praised the President for filling his tax religiously, adding ‘it is an obligation for us and the public to emulate this attitude to ensure we file our tax on time.’

He expressed appreciation to the President and government as a whole for supporting GRA in its efforts to modernize.

‘Recently, the three percent provided for us had saved us from queuing and funds are now paid directly to GRA accounts and this tremendously improved our operations.’

He urged government to continue investing in tax administration and revenue collection, stressing that the current GRA head office is inadequate.

He therefore called for the inclusion of the construction of a new head office for the GRA in the next budget.

Mr. Blankson also called for the quick passage of the legislation, which was announced in the 2012 Budget to broaden the tax base.

‘The passage of the legislation would enable us collect more revenue needed for developmental projects.

 By Emelia Ennin Abbey