One Hundred and twelve companies in the large taxpayers’ office category (LTO), have ignored calls from the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) to honour their tax commitments.
Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta confirmed to the Goldstreet Business at an engagement forum with taxpayers in Accra that “the GRA in an attempt to recoup such monies, sent out letters to 112 companies last year but these companies were unmoved.”
He explained that those companies are part of some 457 entities who owe more than GHS4 billion in tax revenue.
“…one thing is clear, it’s either we are being too soft on enforcement and they are taking us for granted, or obviously we are not doing our supervisory work well,” the Minister said.
Out of six million individual taxpayers nationwide, less than 30 percent of the number are registered taxpayers.
Value Added Tax (VAT) penetration ratio currently stands at 11 percent which is below an expected rate of 22-25 percent permeation rate.
The country’s top 15 debtors, with their principal penalties and interests, sums up to GHS3 billion, with 540 PAYE companies, comprising 67 percent out of total 888 PAYE companies paying regularly. 350 of the 888 are currently having issues with regard to compliance, with the rest 223 making no attempt to file.
“The calculations show we are not doing well in our revenue mobilization drive as a country. Ghana derives GHS10 billion from VAT annually, but that could have doubled if companies are complying,” Mr. Ofori Atta said.
Instructively, the GRA and the Finance Ministry have decided to soon execute some measures to deter companies from avoiding and evading tax.
The two institutions, noted that the exemption rule for mining companies will be reviewed. Inbound leakages from the customs area will also be blocked as it is purported that customs do not have full oversight of goods that arrive in the country.
“We also have reports of scan machines frequently breaking down due to manipulations. Such machines may also be of poor quality. But while doing that, we are sure to address the absence of the structured process in the domestic tax area for pursuing non-compliant tax payers which has become a bane,” he noted.
By Wisdom Jonny-Nuekpe