The Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) has established a Tax Audit and Quality Assurance department to check tax audits corruption and investigate tax gaps resulting evasion and fraud.
At the inauguration of the department in Accra on Tuesday, Minister of Finance, Ken Ofori-Atta, said the creation of the unit was part of strategies to shore up leakages resulting in revenue losses to the state and protect taxpayers from abuse by some tax officers.
The current manual system, he said, was costing the country losses between GH¢700 million and GH¢1 billion and empowered people to engage in malpractices without facing consequences.
He stated that the department would ensure that tax audits by officers were interrogated and reviewed to ensure audit quality was assured as well as harmonise and streamline tax audit to avoid multiple audits of the same types and same periods of the same taxpayer.
The department would also supervise, coordinate and consolidate all audits in GRA as well as ensure tax audit compliance, enforce reforms and promote tax audit professionalism, he added.
The Minister said a call centre would be created within the unit with an ever-responsive toll free number for the public so that tax payers could call and report their challenges regarding officers who may act unprofessionally.
Mr Ofori-Atta said the Ministry would intensify its supervisory role on the GRA as the country makes efforts toward increasing its tax to Gross Domestic Product (GDP) ratio from 13 to 20 per cent and help broaden the tax net with focus on the informal sector by leveraging on technology.
Acting Commissioner-General of GRA, Ammishaddai Owusu-Amoah, said the unit formed part of strategic plan aimed at evolving the organisational structure to respond effectively to emerging revenue administration challenges.
It is also in response to complaints from taxpayers about how tax audits were conducted which inconveniences them and result in human resource and logistics wastage, he added.
The department, he said, would manage the centralised audit planning process, serve as the audit centre of excellence and monitor and ensure audit quality across the operational divisions.
He urged taxpayers to cooperate with the new department in compliance with tax laws and regulations and avoid any practice that enables revenue losses.
BY CLAUDE NYARKO ADAMS