No safe haven for tax dodgers –GRA

GEORGE  BLANKSON-COMMISSIONER  GENERAL,GRAGhana has signed a number of multilateral conventions and tax information exchange Agreements to ensure that corporate bodies and individual taxpayers do not conceal their income and assets, says, George Blankson, Commissioner-General of the Ghana Revenue Authority.

“We have passed our transfer pricing regulations and set up a transfer pricing unit with trained staff who handle transfer pricing audits to ensure that the right amount of tax are paid at the right time in the right place,” he said.

Mr Blankson said this on Tuesday when he opened a seminar on exchange of information in tax administration being facilitated by Global Forum on Transparency and Exchange of Information for Tax Purposes.

The seminar being attended by GRA officials from the Authority’s small, medium and large tax offices, was to equip participants with skill and resources that would enable them to pursue effective exchange of information and auditing in international tax administration.

Mr Blankson said tax transparency had become increasingly important for developing countries like Ghana as international tax evasion and avoidance were major obstacles in securing sustainable domestic finance for development.

He said with many challenges posed to tax administrations in international taxation, it had become imperative to institute an effective mechanism to plug the loopholes and prevent tax avoidance and evasion.

He said Ghana took a step in that direction by joining the Global Forum and became its 100th member by going through peer review of its two phase compliance process adding, “Ghana is committed to the ideals of the Global Forum”.

Mr Blankson said Ghana was committed to sharing information on tax administration because the past decades had witnessed growth and progress in information and telecommunication technology (ICT) which had shrunk the world into a smaller place.

“As a result, businesses have become increasingly global and this has generated greater opportunity for the increase in wealth,” he said.

He said with the openness of the world economy, development of commercial exchange between countries and the increase in the volume of cross-border transactions, tax administrations around the world were exposed to serious obstacles in the proper enforcement of tax laws.

That, Mr Blankson said was because tax administration and enforcement activities for a long time remained confined by national borders stressing, “the exercise of our sovereign powers including auditing and information gathering powers was generally limited to persons, information or activities within the territories of our various jurisdiction”.

He said to close the gap countries now increasingly relied on exchange of information to improve tax transparency adding that the seriousness and importance the participants attach to the seminar would ultimately have a positive impact on revenue mobilisation for national development.

By Lawrence Markwei  

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