The Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) has recovered about GH¢3.5 million in tax liabilities owed it in a recent compliance exercise.
Indebted to the tune of GH¢2.7 billion spanning 2008 till date, involving some 12,000 businesses mostly sited in the country’s urban centres, the reclamation exercise, had seen defaulters also commit to a payment plan to offset debts owed.
This came to light yesterday during a distress action by the Debt Management, Compliance and Enforcement Taskforce of the Authority which saw the seal off of Intelligent Metering and Energy Solutions Limited, an electrical and energy service company located in East Legon, a suburb of Accra.
The company had defaulted in pay-as-you earn (PAYE) and Value Added Tax (VAT) of GH¢ 6.8 million.
Similar exercise which took the team to the Miklin Hotel and Excel Courier Limited which owed GH¢2.8 million and GH¢9.9 million respectively of VAT attracted a GH¢1million cheque payment by management of the hotel.
Officials of Excel Courier however, were absent when the taskforce visited though other companies operating on the premises were present.
According to the Head of the Debt Management, Compliance and Enforcement Unit of the GRA, Mr Michael Sefa, “so far we have collected about 3.5 million and the rest have come to our offices with plans and are paying.
“We have a debt of 2.7 billion we collecting but focusing on 12,000 debtors who are the major debtors. We are confident that after the exercise, we should rope in about GH¢1billion.
Mr Sefa justified the distress action against the defaulting companies saying, “Distress is the last resort we use. We have sent letters to these companies, met with them on mode of payment and till now they have not paid.”
Asked if the exercise was not hostile to the business environment, he held that “our exercise is not taking a toll on businesses in the country. Part of the business set up obligation is to pay tax.
The economy has provided a lot of benefit to businesses, there is an enabling environment, security, infrastructure, laws and regulations and a lot the state has provided for businesses to thrive. Their contribution is to pay tax to fund national development so if they are not paying we will be compelled to distress them,” he maintained.
The head of the taskforce entreated companies yet to comply with tax obligations to do so or face the law.
The GRA, last Thursday begun an exercise to clamp down on companies defaulted in the payment of taxes.
The move has so far seen the taskforce visit other companies including Pasico Ghana Limited, GIHOC Distilleries Company Limited, the Tema office of the Cocoa Marketing Company and Pollution to Water (P2W) Company Limited, all located in the Greater Accra Region.
BY ABIGAIL ANNOH