Even though the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) originally set notice that if by the end of March this year, businesses failed to obtain a Tax Identification Number (TIN), they would not be able to conduct business.
However, owing to the fact that several businesses in the informal economy are not aware of the provision, or requirement, the GRA has waived its original position by saying businesses can still obtain their TIN after April 1.
The only caveat is that such businesses will not have access to some public services beginning from April 1, which means it is advisable for businesses to comply with this new directive. The Paper sees this as another opportunity for the GRA to intensify its publicity campaign and ensure all nooks and crannies are canvassed to make sure they are in tune with the new GRA directive.
It means there is still a window of opportunity for businesses, particularly those in the informal economy, to catch up and ensure they are given TINs so that the country’s tax bracket can be widened to capture the informal economy as well since it contains a sizeable workforce.
Economic thinkers and pundits have averred that there is a need to expand the tax net to capture all those in the informal economy to maximize revenue generation locally, as the country slowly weans itself off foreign aid and assistance.
Currently, government’s option of going to the capital market to access funds to finance its numerous programmes is not sustainable, but also runs the risk of making the country hugely indebted. Therefore, it is necessary to find innovative means of generating revenue locally to fund “Free SHS”, “Planting for Food and Jobs” among others.
The central bank’s latest data shows public debt is escalating and is currently 69.8 percent of GDP which means we are slowly hitting the 70 percent mark, which the IMF has been consistently cautioning against.
It is therefore in this vein that this Paper believes the GRA must sustain its publicity campaign to ensure that more people are brought on board. On the other hand, the denial to public services like the issuance of passports among other benefits will compel people to obtain their TINs so that is compelling enough.
However, public education by the GRA must be sustained since it takes time for people to imbibe fully what TIN is supposed to serve.