CRACKING THE WHIP ON TAX STAMP DEFAULTERS

THE Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) on Tuesday carried through its threat of stopping the sale of products without tax stamps fixed on them.

In the rare operation in Accra, the GRA prevented the Accra Brewery Limited (ABL) and SBC Beverages Ghana Limited from distributing their products for failing to comply with the tax stamp policy.

The exercise also took the team to the Achimota Retail Centre where some items without the tax stamp on them were confiscated.

The situation at GIHOC Distilleries Company Limited was, however, different as the state owned company, one of the first to acquire the tax stamp affixing machine had all its products embossed.

The tax stamp policy is in line with Excise Tax Stamp Act 2013, (Act 873) which came into force in January this year at the ports.

Though the point of sale implementation was scheduled to commence in March, it faced stiff opposition from the businesses community who complained of high cost of the stamp fixing machines. They contended that protocols of fixing the stamps on their products could add additional cost to their operations and in turn affect the ordinary consumer.

Being amenable to the concerns of the manufacturers and importers of excisable goods, the GRA extended the implementation date from September to October to give the producers more time to fully comply with the implementation.

The policy aims at controlling the importation and local production of excisable goods for revenue purposes while checking illicit trading, smuggling and counterfeiting of excisable products and under-declaration of goods.

The digitally designed stamps with security features are expected to be affixed on specified excisable goods in Ghana, whether locally manufactured or imported to show that the necessary taxes and duties had been paid on them.

According to the two institutions heavily affected by the GRA’s crackdown, their tax machines would arrive in mid-October and December respectively.

In as much as the GRA has the legal mandate to enforce the policy, it is also very critical for it to continue the dialogue with the companies and give them a second hearing.

The Ghanaian Times hereby commends GIHOC for taking the lead and calls on all other companies, both private and public to emulate their example and comply with the law.

We further call for continuous dialogue between the GRA and the businesses to find a common ground for a successful and friction-free implementation of the policy which undoubtedly would sanitise the market and generate revenue for the state.

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