GRA targets key institutions to identify taxpayers as it prepares to widen tax net

The Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) is set to obtain third-party information – from both public and private institutions, to capture data on potentially eligible taxpayers to enable the authority impose the necessary tax.

As a means of broadening the tax base, it has become necessary for the Authority to capture the majority of tax eligible enterprises and people – most especially in the informal sector and who do not currently pay tax – to make them fulfill their tax obligations.

This was revealed by the Deputy Commissioner, Policy and Programmes of the GRA, Mr. Nathan Nettey during the maiden edition of a series of monthly seminars being organized by the Institute of Directors (IoD) Ghana.

To fast track the commencement of this process, the Commissioner General of the GRA Mr. Emmanuel Kofi Nti has already written to a number of such institutions asking for requisite data about their respective clients.

These institutions include Driver and Vehicular Licensing Authority (DVLA), financial institutions, Social Security and National Insurance Trust (SSNIT), law enforcement agencies, the courts, lands registry and a host of other institutions who have the requisite data to assist the GRA to carry out its mandate of revenue collection.

Data obtained from institutions will be collated, and data matching conducted on them in order to enable the Authority monitor tax eligible individuals and enterprises not already captured in the tax net – or suspected of deliberately under assessing themselves – and do a fair assessment of their assets and liabilities to enable them pay appropriate taxes to the state.

However, it does not necessarily mean that GRA’s assessment will be final. On the other hand, people who are of the view that the assessment done and presented to them by GRA over values their actual assets, must provide evidence to this effect and pay the appropriate taxes as determined based on that evidence.

Speaking during the seminar, Mr. Nettey said the use of such third party information system will enhance the domestic revenue mobilization drive and would thus enable the Authority meet their set target of over Gh¢44 billion for 2019.

“If you are always involved in litigation at the court and such cases involve lands, houses and properties, after the ligation is over, we will follow it up for our taxes”, he noted.

The seminar brought together representatives from the Ministry of Finance, KPMG and Price Water House as resource persons urged participants to fulfill their mandatory tax obligation.

Only a few African countries use third-party information as a means of enhancing revenue mobilization. There is available data in place that monitors how people make their revenue to enable authority do a fair assessment to make citizens pay appropriate taxes.

By Dundas Whigham