- …leveraging digital platforms to exceed GH¢57bn annual target
The Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) has by the end of the third quarter, September 2021, collected a tax revenue of GH¢39.90billion out of a total annual target of GH¢57billion.
The authority is optimistic it will meet the annual target by December 31 and clear the deficit despite bites of the pandemic.
Due to the adoption of key strategies to improve and augment collection, Ghana Revenue Authority has been leveraging the potentials of digital platforms to enhance and boost tax collection – particularly in the economy’s informal sector.
Going digital, according to the authority, will have a long-term positive effect on tax collection and payments toward a growing knowledge-based ICT economy. Indeed, the GRA has been utilising at least five digital platforms and tools as means of improving tax collection to consolidate Ghana’s digitisation drive.
GRA’s Commissioner-General, Rev. Ammishaddai Owusu-Amoah, told the B&FT that the authority has through the Integrated Customs Management System (ICUMS), on-line filing and payments, data warehousing and the recent resolve to use the much-touted Ghana Card and Tax Identification Number for all transactions regarding tax payment, has put the authority in the right direction toward maximising the current tax net.
“The adoption of these digital strategies has significantly put the authority in a position to meet our GH¢57billion target by December,” he said.
While the formal sector is significantly high and requires a lot of effort to bring it to 100 percent compliance with tax payment – as some taxes are deducted at source, Rev. Owusu-Amoah admitted that defiance level is very high in the informal sector due to the economy’s cash-orientation.
He noted that several efforts, including tax education and the use of the Unstructured Supplementary Service Data (USSD) code *222# on all networks through mobile money, is being used to whip up enthusiasm for collections in the informal sector. The use of these avenues to increase collection in the informal sector has become necessary, according to the GRA, because past initiatives to increase tax collection from the sector did not achieve much.
“The informal sector is described as unregulated and highly non-performing in relation to tax payment. We used to work through the associations – e.g. artisans, food vendors and some trader-groups – but it didn’t help much,” the Commissioner-General disclosed.
The authority however said it has devised disciplinary measures to punish tax evaders who are non-compliant with the rules of tax payment.
GRA confirmed that plans are far advanced to officially operationalise the GRA tax court this month, October, to prosecute individuals and businesses which do not honour their civic responsibility of paying tax to the state. The implementation of these initiatives, the authority believes, will go a long way to exceed its tax target for the year 2021.