In recent times we have noticed that the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) is taking extraordinary steps to collect taxes from tax payers who ought to pay but refuse, and punishing those who are caught evading taxes and failing to issue Value Added Tax (VAT) invoices on purchase of goods and services.
Admittedly, this is not a novelty for the tax collector to enforce compliance in the country but if there is consistency in efforts to ensure payment of taxes then those who are in charge must be commended.
As a matter of fact, GRA has in the last few months romped up its efforts by sending its officials after tax defaulters and closing up businesses and in some cases prosecuting offenders.
We have seen both local and foreigners businesses closed down and owners arrested for tax evasion and for failing to issue VAT invoices on purchase of goods and services.
On the front page of yesterday’s issue, about 48 businesses were reported to have been undergoing prosecution for evading taxes and refusing to issue VAT invoices on purchase of goods and services.
According to the Commissioner-General of GRA, Rev. Amishaddai Owusu-Amoah, the businesses were put before the Tax Courts for acting in contravention to Section 80 of the Revenue Administration Act 2016 (Act 915).
He explained that, the prosecution of tax defaulting businesses was one of the strategies adopted by the Authority to promote tax compliance and enforcement.
He was speaking on Friday during a meeting with Editors in Accra.
Although the Ghanaian Times acknowledges that the GRA is performing its duties, we nonetheless think that they should be encouraged to do more to rake in more revenue for the state.
Many of us do not like paying our taxes voluntarily unless we are forced to do so and therefore so long as the state needs the revenue to develop the country some amount of force should be used to collect the taxes for the state.
While we encourage the GRA to spread its tentacles to all corners of this country and make their presence felt, we would like to encourage the citizenry, especially businesses to see payment of taxes as their civic responsibility.
Without the taxes there can be no development and, therefore, if the government must construct roads, build hospitals, schools and undertake other social intervention initiatives, then each tax payer must honour that obligation.
We hope that the GRA would fearless and without favour continue to pursue all tax defaulters both in the formal and informal sector to rake in the necessary revenue for national development.
As have been said earlier, businesses must also honour their tax obligations willing and cooperate with the tax authorities truthfully for our collective good.