The Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) has justified a $773 million back-tax bill it imposed on telecommunication company, MTN.
MTN in an earlier statement contested the back-tax bill, describing it as inaccurate.
According to the leading telecom firm, it is a tax-compliant corporate citizen and the tax liability notice of GH¢8,209,603,842.14 (US$773 million) issued against it by the GRA is unacceptable.
“In this regard, from the base component of the assessment (that is, excluding penalties and interest) on MTN Ghana’s analysis, the GRA infers that MTN Ghana under declared its revenue by more than approximately 30 per cent over the five-year period from 2014 to 2018,” it said in a statement.
“The GRA audited MTN Ghana for the period 2014-2018, using a third-party consultant as well as a new methodology based on call data records (CDR), recharges, and other data.
“MTN Ghana strongly disputes the accuracy and basis of the assessment, including the methodology used in conducting the audit. MTN Ghana believes that taxes due have been paid during the period under assessment,” it explained.
Responding to the issue, the GRA maintained that the action was right in law.
“Section 36 of the Revenue Administration Act 2016, (Act 915), mandates the Commissioner-General to audit the tax affairs of a person; and it is in accordance with this provision that the Authority conducted a Tax audit on MTN Ghana for the tax period 2014 to 2018” a statement released by the GRA said.
“The audit was conducted as required by law adhering to the principles of fairness and transparency”, it added.
The statement said, “Section 42 of Act 915 also prescribes the ways in which a person can object to a tax assessment that is served by the Commissioner-General”.
It said in the case of MTN Ghana, GRA followed due process in serving a Notice of Assessment and had engaged MTN Ghana as required by law to ensure that it communicates the basis of assessment as well as the several avenues available for objection as required in Section 42 of the Revenue Administration Act.
“We wish to emphasise that MTN Ghana has been reminded at all times in the Authority’s interactions with them about their right to object to any tax decision by the Commissioner-General. Admittedly, MTN Ghana has been audited many times in the past and has received numerous awards as a compliant taxpayer; however, these do not in any way prejudice the conduct of audits as required by law,” the statement said.
BY TIMES REPORTER