GRA registers 2m for TIN …targets 4 million taxpayers by end of 2019

Emmanuel Kofi Nti, Commissioner General, GRA

The Ghana Revenue Authority in its bid to increase tax revenue has deepened efforts to increase the Tax Identification Number registration for all potential taxpayers nationwide.

From 2017 to 2018 the GRA has mobilized to US$7.6 billion despite the abolishment of some specific taxes, and the amount is an appreciable increase from the US$5.89 billion revenue which was mobilized between 2013 and 2016.

As at December 2017 TIN registration by the GRA was 1,017,384 but last year alone this almost doubled to two million by the end of December 2018.

Speaking at the Danquah Institute’s Economic Forum in Accra last Friday, Commissioner General of the GRA, Mr. Emmanuel Kofi Nti explained that, the immediate target of the Authority, is to double the TIN registration of taxpayers yet again, to four million by the end of this year.

“Our target for this year, is to register four million potential taxpayers for the tax identification number and we are working seriously at it,” he asserted.

Meanwhile the tax chief, has lamented that the informal sector’s contribution to tax revenue remains just about one percent.

“What we have from the informal sector and the self-employed is one percent, it’s even worse, with some of our offices not being able to meet their target on the self-employed,” he lamented.

To improve the situation, GRA has directed its offices not to report negative deviations on the self-employed , with compliance to the directive being a key performance indicator.

Meanwhile the GRA considers data as an integral element for identifying tax payers for revenue mobilization.

However, despite Ghana’s challenge with a developed data system, some progress has been made as the ongoing national identification card registration has been touted by government as the catalyst for  enhanced information gathering on every citizen and potential taxpayer.

Data from five collection centres, Tema, Takoradi, Aflao, Elubo and KIA, has indicated an appreciable revenue growthin recent years.

In 2017, Tema’s collection grew about 29 percent, Takoradi 6 percent, Aflao 6 percent and Elubo 38 percent.

However the GRA Commissioner of Customs, Mr Isaac Crentsil  has admitted that 2018 was a bad year for revenue mobilization by his department, despite the introduction of the paperless ports system which is meant to eliminate tax evasion through corrupt practices made possible by human interface driven manual processes.

According to him, Tema Port which provides about 80 percent of national revenue from international trade recorded only 7 percent revenue growth last year, down from 29 percent in 2017. The rest of customs collection centres recorded negative performance.

“As the reforms brought in higher compliance, traders began to devise measures to evade and defeat the strictness of the system through the transit and the warehouse system and that has been responsible for the bad result in 2018,” he disclosed.

By Wisdom Jonny- Nuekpe