General News of Thursday, 14 June 2018
In the next three (3) months, the Tax Amnesty grace period will elapse as business and individuals who would fail to take advantage of the period and settle their tax obligations with the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA), will suffer the consequences.
The Tax Amnesty offers a limited-time opportunity for taxpayers and potential ones who have defaulted in their tax obligations to come out voluntarily and honor their obligations in exchange for forgiveness of the interest and penalties in some cases.
The authority is therefore urging tax defaulters to take full advantage of the ongoing policy to file their tax obligations without a penalty, or face prosecution after 30th September 2018.
The Tax Amnesty policy also serves as a platform for the GRA to broaden the net.
In March this year (2018), Commissioner General of GRA, Emmanuel Kofi-Nti at a news conference to explain the policy guidelines told journalists tha,… “This is the last time GRA and for that matter, the government is offering a tax amnesty for defaulting businesses and persons.
“I therefore, call on all persons earning income who have defaulted in the previously registered with GRA to take advantage of the amnesty, come clean and regularize their tax affairs”, he stated.
Mr Kofi-Nti also emphasized that, “GRA has the capacity to identify all potential taxpayers. I wish to say that being outside the radar is not an option because GRA will vigorously pursue all tax defaulters including prosecuting them after the expiration of the amnesty period that is, 30th September 2018. Thereafter, GRA will apply all the sanctions under the law”.
Meanwhile, GRA has been tasked to collect in excess of GH¢39bn as taxes for the 2018 fiscal year.
In 2017, the authority collected GH¢32.4bn as against a target of about GH¢ 34bn, representing 97 percent.
However, the authority could or exceed its revenue target for the year as it hopes to rake in over GH?300 million from the ongoing tax amnesty policy.
Read Full Details of the Tax Amnesty Policy/Guidelines Below………
TAKE ADVANTAGE OF TAX AMNESTY
The issue of broadening the tax net has always been a topic for discussion among Ghanaians. The Government, and for that matter, the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) believe that one way of doing this is to implement a tax amnesty policy to enable GRA mobilise adequate revenue for accelerated national development.
It is against this background that Parliament passed the Tax Amnesty Act, 2017 (Act 955). The Tax Amnesty Act is designed specifically to facilitate the regularization of the tax affairs of persons who have defaulted in meeting their tax obligations and update the GRA’s data base. The Act also seeks to improve the tax compliance culture thereby broadening the tax net to lessen the burden on the few compliant taxpayers.
The Tax Amnesty is a limited – time opportunity for taxpayers and potential ones who have defaulted in their tax obligations to come out voluntarily to discharge their obligations in exchange for forgiveness of the interest and penalties in some cases, and in others, the tax, interests and penalties without fear of prosecution.
BASIC TAX OBLIGATIONS
There are four basic obligations that all taxpayers must satisfy in revenue administration.
1. Every taxpayer or potential taxpayer is required under the tax laws to register with GRA.
2. Pay taxes by due dates
3. File tax returns by due dates
4. Make full disclosure of complete and accurate financial reporting.
A default in any of these attracts interest and penalty. The tax amnesty therefore offers the opportunity to all those who have defaulted in any of these basic obligations to regularise them, covering the period from 2014 up to 2017.
The Tax Amnesty took effect from January, 2018 and will end on 30th September, 2018. However, all applications for the tax amnesty should be submitted to all GRA offices on or before 31st August, 2018. It must be emphasized that the tax amnesty covers all types of taxes.
There are two categories of persons who could take advantage of the tax amnesty to improve upon their compliance level. Persons already registered with the GRA have the opportunity to voluntarily submit outstanding tax returns from 2014 – 2017 and pay the relevant taxes on all previously undeclared taxes without being made to pay the penalties and interests that would have been imposed under the Revenue Administration Act, 2016 (Act 915) and other tax laws. This is a waiver of the interest and penalties involved.
The second category are potential taxpayers who are not registered with the GRA but earned profits or other incomes for 2014, 2015 and 2016. They have the opportunity to register and submit all outstanding tax returns for the relevant period. In this case, the tax, penalties and interest that will otherwise have been due on those incomes would be forgiven while they are encouraged to be tax compliant.
It should be noted however, that not all persons are qualified to take advantage of the amnesty.
? Persons who have been assessed and notified by or on behalf of the Commissioner – General in respect of the tax or any mater relating to the tax.
? Persons under audit or investigation,
? Persons that have been notified of an enforcement action relating to failure to submit returns or pay any tax assessed or due.
? A person is also disqualified to apply for the amnesty if he/she has failed to comply with any of the tax laws administered by the Commissioner – General relating to submission of returns or the payment of taxes.
A person who qualifies for tax amnesty is required to submit an application for amnesty to any GRA office on a Tax Amnesty Application form which can be obtained from GRA offices in the country. One can also visit the GRA website:
ww.gra.gov.gh. The deadline for application is 31st August, 2018.
Any applicant who is not previously registered with the GRA will be required to complete and submit Registration forms in addition to the application forms, disclosure forms and the returns.
PROCESSING OF APPLICATION
The Tax Amnesty Act stipulates that after the receipt of an application, the Commissioner – General has 30 days to respond to the application indicating approval or refusal of the tax amnesty with reasons. An applicant who is refused the amnesty could appeal against the decision and within 30 days, the Commissioner – General is obliged to respond to the complaint and notify the applicant accordingly.
It is hoped that all taxpayers and potential taxpayers who have defaulted within the ‘’ qualifying period’’ will take advantage of the amnesty to regularise their obligations after which they will be required to stay faithful to the revenue administration and discharge all their tax obligations in accordance with the various tax laws.
It must be made clear that the tax amnesty is not a bait but a genuine attempt to broaden the tax net and improve the compliance rate. All qualified persons should therefore take advantage of it before the expiry date. GRA will however, bring the full force of the law to bear on persons who refuse to take advantage of the law. After September 30, 2018, GRA will be tough and go after all recalcitrant persons earning income who are supposed to pay tax but have refused.
Ghana needs all citizens to honour their tax obligations to sustain and improve upon the country’s developmental efforts.