The Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) is working with the Chief Justice, Kwasi Anin-Yeboah, through the Judicial Service, to set up a dedicated court to deal with tax offenses expeditiously as a way to engender tax compliance to help the nation retrieve tax revenues that go into wrong pockets.
“This year, the GRA is going all out to pursue tax defaulters and persons who infringe on tax laws. We will launch a dedicated and special court for tax cases, as well as recruit more professionals to join our Prosecutions Unit,” the acting Commissioner General for the GRA, Ammishadai Owusu- Amoah said at a meeting with journalists to outline measures being taken to increase revenue collection this year.
He noted that the move is being done alongside the training of some selected judges on tax laws to equip them with all the nuances and amendments that have happened in recent years. It has already trained its staff on the proper ways of evidence collection in the revenue operation business, to aid them draft solid cases for prosecution.
“With these structures in place, we would like to sound a strong word of caution to tax defaulters and persons who indulge in fraudulent tax practices that they will be prosecuted expeditiously according to the tax laws,” Mr. Owusu- Amoah said.
Meanwhile the GRA says it would invest a lot of time this year to intensify tax education. The authority believes that many fall foul to the law not because they want to but because they are unaware of their rights and obligations under the law as individuals and business entities.
“The authority will undertake increased tax education exercises to help inform taxpayers on their rights and obligations, processes and procedures, among others, all aimed at ensuring voluntary tax compliance.
In the light of COVID-19, virtual tax education will also be used to complement the other modes of education. To complement our tax education efforts, we will also focus on excellent customer care. Our aim is to delight our customers even as they discharge their civic responsibilities,” Mr. Owusu-Amaoh intimated.
Deployment of information technology tools
The GRA says it would continue deploying new digital platforms and enhance already existing ones that would support tax compliance. While at it, to help in building the capacity of their staff in the area of Information Communication Technology (ICT), one of their donor partners, KFW (a German state-owned development bank), is helping with the construction of an IT Training Institute. “The contractor is currently on site, and construction will start soon,” the acting Commissioner General said.
The GRA has already commenced work into how much the nation is expected to lose with the coming into effect of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA). The authority says it is not clear about the revenue percentage drop but it is confident that the early stages would not have any significant impact as the drop in revenue would be marginal.