Operators of three businesses in Accra, were Tuesday arrested for failing to issue certified Value Added Tax (VAT) invoices to their customers.
The businesses are Waves Lounge and Pub, Chez Amis Pub and Grill, and Grand Pacific Limited, dealers’ in general electrical cables.
The operators were arrested by a taskforce of the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA), which commenced a VAT enforcement exercise, targeting 93 businesses which were not complying with the VAT laws.
They were handed over to the Criminal Investigations Department (CID) of the Ghana Police Service, to assist in investigations.
Speaking to journalists during the exercise, Commissioner in Charge of the Domestic Tax Revenue Division (DTRD) of the GRA, Edward Gyambrah said, an assessment would be conducted to determine the exact amount owed by the businesses.
Following undercover investigations of 115 businesses, it was discovered that 93 of them failed to issue VAT invoice to customers.
He said the undercover investigations by officials of the authority who visit shops to make purchases to find out if the business were complying with VAT laws.
Mr Gyambrah said it was an offence for a registered taxpaying business to avoid the issuance of VAT invoice to customers who purchase their services.
The authority, he noted, in the coming weeks would focus on businesses that have failed to issue certified VAT invoices at the point of sale at their outlets to their customers.
Mr Gyambrah said, subsequently, such operations would target persons who patronise such businesses, saying that “if you fail to insist on the certified VAT invoices, it is an offence to make purchases and not demand a VAT invoice.”
He called on the public to request and insists on their VAT invoices, adding “we all have a role to play by requesting for VAT invoices and requesting that people do the right thing and contribute to revenue mobilisation.”
Mr Gyambrah said the exercise was to help the authority to meet its revenue target of GH¢106 billion for 2023 of which the Domestic Tax Revenue Division was to collect 70 per cent of the expected amount.
He said the recently amended tax laws passed by Parliament would complement the effort of the authority in mobilising the needed revenue.
The amended tax laws comprise the excise Duty Act 2023 (Act 1093), the Income Tax Amendment Act 2023 (Act 1094) and the growth and sustainability Levy Act 2023 (Act1095).
“The Division has several options at its disposal to aid in revenue mobilisation such as auditing, test purchasing amount and others,” Mr Gyambrah said.
Last year, the authority embarked on a series of VAT enforcement exercises as part of efforts to bring all tax evaders to book, and rope in potential taxpayers and the authority indicated that the exercise held it to achieve its revenue target for 2022.
Earlier this year, the Authority started another enforcement exercise on the implementation of the electronic invoicing system and other tax types.
BY CLAUDE NYARKO ADAMS