The nationwide full enforcement and compliance exercise on the excise tax stamp will commence on October 1st, 2018, Mr. Emmanuel Kofi Nti, Commissioner-General of the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA), has said.
Vendors who fail to affix the tax stamp on the selected products by October 1, 2018, will face the imposition of a 300 percent penalty of the duties and taxes involved.
“This is the second phase; the enforcement and compliance exercise will involve the complete detention, seizure and imposition of the required 300 percent penalty of the duties and taxes involved on culprits.
“All the sanctions enshrined in the law on failure to comply with affixing the stamps will be applied. The public must desist from purchasing goods with no tax stamps on them,” Mr. Nti said.
Mr. Nti was speaking to journalists at a media conference in Accra to warn manufacturers, importers, wholesalers and retailers who fail to affix excise tax stamps on excisable goods that the days of impunity regarding non-compliance with the tax laws are completely over.
“We wish to convey to the public that they cannot choose and select which of the tax laws they want to obey,” he said.
The Excise Tax Stamp Act requires a tax stamp to be affixed on specified excisable goods manufactured in the country/imported into the country, and other goods prescribed by the Minister of Finance.
Specifically, the Act stipulates that the Excise Tax Stamp be affixed on excisable goods such as cigarettes and other tobacco products, alcoholic beverages, non-alcoholic carbonated beverages, bottled water and any other excisable product prescribed by the minister.
Under the law, some products manufactured in Ghana, imported products and other goods prescribed by the Minister of Finance which are classified as excisable goods, must have the stamps affixed on them before they are sold to the public.
The goods include cigarettes and other tobacco products, alcoholic beverages—either bottled and canned, contained in kegs for sale or packaged in other forms; non-alcoholic carbonated beverages, whether bottled, canned or packaged in any other form, and bottled water.
Mr. Nti indicated that apart from the stamp helping to control the importation and local production of excisable goods for revenue purposes, the public stands to benefit immensely from the initiative.
He stated that effective implementation of the tax stamp will help check illicit trading, smuggling and counterfeiting of excisable products, ensure good health of consumers, check under-declaration of goods, and protect and increase tax revenue.
Mr. Nti said in the past the GRA had removed specified goods that did not bear the stamp from the shelves and advised manufacturers, wholesalers and retailers to adhere to the law.
“I wish to reiterate: All the sanctions enshrined in the law on failure to comply with affixing the excise tax stamp will be applied to the letter!” he emphasised.
Mr. Nti said the exercise was not meant to embarrass and harass anybody, but to ensure that there is total compliance with the law.
He said the excise tax stamp policy is being implemented to control the importation and local production of excisable goods for revenue; check the illicit trading, smuggling and counterfeiting of excisable products; check under-declaration of goods; protect and increase tax revenue, and ensure the good health of Ghanaians.
The Excise Tax Stamp Act was passed by Parliament in December 2013, with the aim of ensuring affixation of excise tax stamps on specific excisable goods before they are delivered ex-factory, cleared from any port, or presented for sale at any commercial level in Ghana.
Enforcement of the Excise Tax Stamp Act started at the ports on January 1, 2018, and at the points of sale on March 1, 2018.
In March 2018, a special taskforce from the GRA commenced the first phase of an enforcement exercise in Accra, Kumasi and Takoradi, during which goods which did not have excise stamps affixed on them were removed from the shelves of some shops.
The team also found that some manufacturers, wholesalers and retailers were engaging in what was described as selective compliance as they affixed the stamps on some goods, and were therefore advised to strictly adhere to the law.