No one is exempt from tax obligations

On Monday, President Nana AddoDankwaAkufo-Addo spoke at the 2021-2022 Annual General Meeting (AGM) of the Ghana Bar Association (GBA) held in Bolgatanga in the Upper East Region.

The GBA’s AGM was on the theme ‘Ensuring an increase in revenue mobilisation through taxation for the purpose of accelerated national development: The role of the lawyer’.

It is instructive to take particular notice of the theme because of the fact that President Akufo-Addosaid to the chagrin of many that about 60,000 professionals, including lawyers, accountants, doctors and politicians, do not honour their tax obligations.

The President quoted Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA), the nation’s tax collector, in making that point, which means he could not have peddled an untruth.

The Ghanaian Times shares the worry of President Akufo-Addo in this matter because these are high-profile people who know better than others as to what taxes can do in the development of the country.

In fact, this is a category of people who benefit from the state more than the rest of the people by way of huge remunerations, free facilities like accommodation, vehicles, fuel, medical care and overseas travels, as well as privileges that are made possible with money taken from revenue accruing from the taxpayer.

By this time, such tax-payment-defaulting professionals must bow their heads in shame and quickly run to honour their tax obligations before the unexpected could happen.

It is interesting that the President made the revelation at a lawyers’ forum because lawyers are supposed to have the law in their bosom such that they must not do anything that border on its infraction.

Hitherto, this paper would have challenged anyone trying to associate tax evasion with lawyers but here we are, being told that it is the case that lawyers too evade tax.

The Ghanaian Times is at a loss as to why lawyers and other high-profile professionals have not been dealt with by the law but being treated with kids’ gloves.

The media from time to time report of cases tax crimes in which workplaces are locked by officials of the GRA without the mentioning of lawyers and other such high-profile professionals in the cases.

Is it the case that the GRA has been shielding these professionals some of whom may have friends and classmates among officials of the national tax collector?

Another interesting issue is that MrAkufo-Addo mentioned that prior to his assumption of office as a President only 750,000 Ghanaians had been captured by the GRA as tax payers but with the introduction of the Ghana Card by his administration, 15.5 million Ghanaians have been captured.

This is good news because it has implications for more tax revenue and consequently increased state revenue for national development.

This paper wishes to reiterate all appeal to taxpayers, particularly those doing private businesses, to fulfil their obligations.

Currently, there are businesses which do not pay the income tax and other statutory deductions taken from the salaries of their employees, which is inimical to both the employees and the state.

The law must work now and forever for Ghana to accrue the needed revenue for national development.

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