A tax revenue Civil Society Organisation (CSO) – Revenue Mobilisation Africa (RMA) – is backing the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) to continuously enforce and implement its Electronic Invoicing System to ensure all selected companies are compliant with the directive.
Implementation of the Electronic Invoicing System, which is also referred to as the electronic VAT, has come under a barrage of criticism from a section of traders and retailers in the last two-days, as the GRA attempted to enforce the policy to enhance revenue mobilisation and meet its annual tax target of GH¢80.3billion.
Some traders, particularly in Kumasi – including some notable musicians and politicians, have come out to criticise the tax authority’s mode of enforcing the e-VAT implementation by abruptly closing down non-compliant shops and supermarkets.
However, Revenue Mobilisation Africa (RMA) in a statement copied to the B&FT and signed by its Executive Director, Geoffrey Kabutey Ocansey, asked the GRA not to relent in its effort to collect every tax that is due the state.
“Revenue Mobiliation Africa has observed with shock and disappointment some very avoidable and unwarranted attacks on the GRA in line with implementation of the Electronic Invoicing System,” part of the statement noted.
As part of measures to correct this anomaly, the RMA recommended that all 25 shops that flouted the law by failing to enrol on the e-VAT system – and also failed to communicate any difficulty in so doing to the authority – be made to reapply in order to operate their businesses.
The organisation also asked that the companies to pay a fine and be made to sign a bond of trust and fair trade before the restart. “The GRA and representatives of these companies, the statement added, should meet and discuss any difficulty linked to enrolling onto the system technically,” the statement indicated.
“We urge the GRA to continue playing its important role in this regard, which is in sync with its core mandate of ensuring maximum compliance with all relevant tax laws. That said, it is important to let any company or individual who has any complaints direct them to the Commissioner-General for consideration. We congratulate the GRA and Commissioner-General for their efforts at closing-in on tax defaulters,” the statement concluded.
The ongoing enforcement of the e-VAT exercise is aimed at ensuring that some fifty (50) targetted large tax payers enrol onto the certified invoicing system for the administration of VAT in Ghana. These 50 companies are part of a total 600 companies that have been targetted for the first phase of the three-phase project. The Commissioner General has officially and legally certified the e-VAT per the VAT Act 870 as amended.
It is worth noting that these 600 companies targetted for the project’s first phase pay 90 percent of total VAT revenue and a total of 80 percent of the country’s total domestic revenue.
The exercise is aimed at aiding the GRA to monitor live transactions in companies (improving revenue monitoring and collection systems). The system will also check the cases of under-invoicing and prevent dodging/avoiding the payment of VAT. When successful, this system will increase VAT contributions to the tax revenue generation in Ghana.
The project’s second phase will enrol medium tax payers on the system in 2023; and its third and final phase is expected to enrol the remaining VAT application clients on the tax system.
It is important to note that 25 out of the 50 targetted institutions have complied and enrolled onto the system as scheduled from October 1, 2022. The remaining 25 companies decided to flout the laws with impunity, and rather close their shops ahead of the visit by GRA’s task force that visited their business operating points.
The GRA has in the last few weeks been enforcing a number of tax regulations through swoops, mystery shopping and tax invigilation on VAT issuance, and e-VAT compliance among others.