Management of Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) has begun pursuing some 16 companies, business entities and individuals who owe the Authority more than Gh¢2.68 billion as outstanding income tax for 2017.
This is a response from the GRA to recommendations contained in the 2018 edition of the Auditor General’s public accounts report where the latter questioned why such business entities have abused the income tax regime.
In 2017, the GRA collected Gh¢32.3 billion in revenue as compared to Gh¢27 billion collected in 2016, an increase of 19.63 percent.
This implies that if the indebted business entities, companies and individuals had fulfilled their mandatory income tax obligation to the GRA, the Authority would have surpassed the GH¢33.4 billion revenue target in 2017.
The total outstanding income tax of Gh¢2.6 billion was arrived at after the Auditor General had examined 1,488 selected tax files from 16 Domestic Tax Revenue Offices most especially in the Greater Accra Region.
The Domestic Tax Revenue Offices used for the examination include Small Taxpayer Offices (STO) in Osu, Mataheko, Agbogbloshie, Kaneshie, Tamale and Elmina whiles the Medium Taxpayer Offices (MTO) were located at Kaneshie, Agbogbloshie, Osu, Spintex, Legon, Tema and Cape Coast.
Section 41 of the Income Tax Act 2015 (Act 896) mandates the Commissioner-General of the GRA to recover any unpaid tax by pursuing judicial distress proceedings against the immovable property of a person liable to pay tax.
However, this provision, according to the Auditor General Daniel Domelovo, was not fully applied by Management of the GRA to compel the defaulting companies and business entities to honour their tax obligation which literally gave such companies room to freely flout the tax regulations regime.
As a measure to institute effective policies to curb a reoccurrence of such payment defaults, the Auditor General is urging management of GRA to increase its enforcement role in the collection of all outstanding income tax revenues.