Business News of Tuesday, 3 April 2018
A tax expert is urging Ghanaians not to engage the services of masons, carpenters, plumbers and many other workers in the informal sector who do not have a Tax Identification Number (TIN).
Kweku Agyei Nyamekye says it should also be possible for the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) to prosecute persons who engage the services of workers in the informal sector who do not have a history of paying tax.
That according to Mr Nyamekye is a sure way of widening the tax net and getting workers, especially in the informal sector captured in Ghana’s tax administration system.
He was reacting to the GRA’s strict implementation of the Tax Identification Number (TIN) policy that will make it impossible for anyone to transact any business or live a meaningful life without it.
The policy which began on April 1, 2018, makes it impossible for anyone to clear goods at the port, register land at the Lands Commission; obtain a tax clearance certificate from the GRA or even open a bank account without the TIN registration.
In addition, one cannot register a company at the Registrar General’s Department nor register a vehicle at the Driver and Vehicles Licensing Authority without a TIN.
That is not all. One cannot obtain payment for jobs done for government or bid for a contract in any government agency. In the event that a person is duped, ejected by a landlord or any other issue that will require that he files a complaint at the court, the person will not be able to do same without a TIN.
If one becomes so frustrated because of the inability to do all that and decides to leave the country, one cannot even obtain a passport without TIN.
Head of the Public Relations Officer, Kwasi Bobie Ansah told Joy News the policy is to make it possible for everyone who is earning an income to have a TIN.
“If you don’t have a TIN you cannot transact business,” he said.
Mr Ansah disputed claims there has been a limited education for the implementation of the policy.
According to him, since the promulgation of the Revenue Administration Act, (915) the GRA has rolled out a massive education campaign on the TIN policy and the need for every income earner to be registered.
He blamed the supposed lack of education on what he said to be the last minute attitude of Ghanaians.
He also dismissed assertions that children must register for a tin before they can apply for a passport. He explained children can use the TIN of their parents in applying for their passports.
Speaking on the campaign, Kweku Nyamekye said even though he has heard about the public education campaign, a lot more needs to be done if all income earners will be captured on the TIN.
He said the education must also explain to people why they need to pay their taxes as well.
There have been concerns the allied companies or agencies involved in the implementation of the policies have not been properly briefed.
At the passport office Joy News’ Komla Adom has confirmed personnel at the office are still issuing passports without the TIN.
They however admitted that now that they have been properly informed they will execute the policy.
The situation is not different at the DVLA. Deputy head at the Authority Mr Kafui Semevor said there has not been proper briefing between the DVLA and the GRA.
To ensure a seamless implementation of the policy Mr Semevor is asking the GRA to make it possible for the DVLA to have the copies of the TIN forms at the DVLA so that when people are coming to apply for their licenses or register their cars they can apply for the TIN as well.
“When laws are easy to comply with, people comply,” he said but added where there is frustration they ignore.