Tax stamps being misapplied

Mr. Kwabena Apau Anto demonstrating the misapplication to journalists during the exercise

The Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) has expressed worry about the misapplication of tax stamps to some products on the Ghanaian market.

The Authority noted that despite intense awareness campaigns and sensitization on how the tax stamp is supposed to be applied and on which products, operators of some warehouses still misapply the stamps, particularly in the beverages industry.

During a monitoring and enforcement exercise on the level of compliance to the tax stamp scheme, it was revealed that some warehouse operators at Tudu and some shops in Accra, were misapplying the stamps.

For instance, a stamp that is required to be affixed to a 250ml (milliliter) bottle, was being misapplied to a 350ml bottled drink.

Addressing the media during the exercise, Chief Revenue officer of GRA, Kwabena Apau Anto, said the phenomenon could go a long way to adversely affect operators who misapplied the stamps, as the GRA will demand for the appropriate tax to be paid based on the particular stamp affixed to the products.

“The authority during audit may not consider the misapplication as excuse from the warehouse. We have done intense sensitization and awareness creation on sizes of the stamps and which capacity of bottle they must be affixed to. It’s inappropriate to affix a 250ml stamp to a 350ml bottle”, Mr Apau indicated.

Meanwhile, the operator of the Tudu warehouse did not readily give any reason why some of the stamps were misapplied.

Mr Apau, however cautioned that the GRA is still particular on prosecuting recalcitrant business operators who are bent on evading tax by not affixing the stamps on their products or resorting to the use of fake stamps.

The GRA, he said, has already referred six cases of tax stamp fraud to the courts for trial.

The tax stamp policy’s implementation began on January 1, 2018 with enforcement at the point of entry while point of sale enforcement subsequently started on March 1, 2018.

The Excise Tax Stamp Act, 2013 (Act 873) requires that excise tax stamps be affixed on specific products manufactured domestically or imported, including cigarettes and tobacco products, alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages, bottled water and any other product prescribed by the Finance Minister.