The Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) has been advised to step up its tax education efforts in order to improve the level of tax compliance and revenue collection across the nation.
Additionally, it has been requested that the institution carry out the teaching through the various Ghanaian languages so that the message can be clearly understood by all Ghanaian taxpayers.
During a National Multi-Stakeholder Tax Dialogue that was held in Accra and organized by the Ghana Anti-Corruption Coalition (GACC), Stakeholders offered the advise that was presented below.
The purpose of the event was to identify problems to tax compliance in Ghana and to provide actionable methods to overcome such obstacles.
The Ghana National Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Revenue Mobilisation Africa, the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA), the Institute of Financial and Economic Journalists (IFEJ), the Association of Building and Civil Engineering Contractors, the Association of Small-Scale Industry, and the Chamber of Youth Entrepreneurs were among the organizations that participated in the event. Other institutions included:
To further ensure that taxpayers understood what they were required to pay, Mr. Geoffrey Ocansey, Executive Director for Revenue Mobilisation Africa, stated that the Authority must make an effort to convey to companies exactly what it was that they paid for at when point in time.
According to him, having a comprehensive communication plan could simplify all of the intricacies that make it difficult for businesses to be in compliance with tax regulations.
According to Mr. Ocansey, earlier GRA forums indicated that the organization had Relationship Officers who assisted businesses with difficulties that they had while paying their taxes.
He stated that in the meanwhile, these companies expected more from GRA in terms of establishing a link with the companies in order to better grasp the taxes system.
Mr. Ocansey asked the Government to rebuild public confidence by being open and accountable regarding the use of the money received from taxes. “People must see and feel what their taxes are used for and that will motivate them to easily pay their taxes,” he said. “People must see and feel what their taxes are used for in order to pay their taxes.”
During the open forum session, Mr. Lloyd Evans, who had previously served as President of the IFEJ, stated that the GRA needs to continually educate the public on taxation.
According to him, education regarding taxation should not be an occasional activity but rather a daily one. This is so that people are aware of the necessity for them to pay their taxes as well as the appropriate channels that they can use.
Mr. Evans proposed that the Government Revenue Agency (GRA) establish an entire Department whose primary mission would be to inform the general public about the many facets of taxation.
He continued by saying, “It is not enough to have a billboard urging the public to pay their taxes; it is also necessary to educate the people on what they do not know about the tax system.”
He requested that the GRA come up with strategies to monitor the night economy, which refers to enterprises that are open late at night, in order to verify that these establishments fulfilled their tax responsibilities.
Mr. Evans also proposed sending “mystery clients” into various institutions in order to glean information regarding the tax payments made by these businesses.
According to Mr. Clement Amankwah-Bonsu, the Chief Revenue Officer at GRA, they are relying on the Information Communication and Technology to digitalize filing processes, running a cashless system, and payment of taxes in order to make things more convenient for taxpayers.
He stated that as part of the measures to enhance tax compliance, the GRA had created a Prosecution Unit to prosecute taxpayers who failed to meet their tax paying obligations. He said this was done as part of the GRA’s efforts to enhance tax compliance.
Mr. Amankwah-Bonsu urged Ghanaians to come forward with any information they might have regarding businesses or individuals who were operating without paying the appropriate taxes.
He stated that the Authority has established an Informant Awards Scheme in order to award rewards to anyone who provided pertinent information that led to the arrest of defaulters.