GRA contemplates incentives for filing tax returns online

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Ammishaddai Owusu-Amoah---Commissioner General GRA

The Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) will soon outline some incentives that would accompany the filing of tax returns online through the Integrated Tax Application Preparation System (ITAPS) in a move to encourage compliance.

Acting Commissioner-General of the GRA, Ammishaddai Owusu-Amoah, told the B&FT in an interview that a channel migration strategy is being developed to encourage businesses and individuals to pay their tax.

“When you introduce a new channel, you have to come out with a plan that will incentivise people to use the new channel. It is like when the banks introduced internet banking, people were still walking into the banks so they had to come up with incentives like if you transact business on the internet, we will charge you lower; so the GRA is drafting a number of benefits you will get if you file and pay your taxes electronically to encourage people to migrate from the old channel to the new channels.

It is compulsory for everyone to file the returns because if you don’t file the returns, there are some incentives and services you won’t have access to.

For example, if you have not filed your returns, you would not get your tax clearance certificate. Today, to become a board member of a bank, they would require that you file your returns and many others.

All these are to ensure that people will comply. You can either file manually or electronically, we are deliberating on how we can push more online filing,” Mr. Owusu-Amoah said.

The ITAPS will ensure taxpayers have the opportunity to file returns at their convenience and also receive all the necessary support they need electronically.

The app is an e-services platform that enables taxpayers to prepare, apply and receive GRA services online. With this, both individuals and companies are able to file their annual tax returns at their own convenience and pay digitally through the new single digital payment platform, Ghana.GOV, which provides a single point of access for all services of ministries, departments and agencies of the government.

The app also allows, electronically, access to Tax Clearance Certificate (e-TCC) as well as Withholding Tax Credit Certificate (e-Tax Credit) and VAT Withholding Tax Credit Certificate (e-VAT Credit).

The ITAPS also seeks to assist taxpayers to keep the records required to fulfil their tax obligations, with the GRA also aiming to improve its performance of Tax Administration Diagnostic Tools (TADAT) ranking under voluntary compliance.

The digital app is expected to improve the quality of tax returns submitted by the payers.

According to the GRA, issues surrounding revenue assurance, convenience and simplicity have also been addressed by the app. As a result, taxpayers have the option of either filing their returns via mobile money or online.

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