By Bernice Bessey
The Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) has closed down a multi dollar company, PackPlus International Limited, for defaulting in payment of tax to the tune of two million, six hundred and forty two thousand, eight hundred and seventy four cedis, seventeen pesewas (GH¢2, 642, 874.17).
PackPlus International Limited has been given fourteen (14) days ultimatum to make all payments to the GRA or face confiscation and liquidation of its assets.
The closure of PackPlus International Limited was carried out by Special Revenue Mobilization Taskforce (SRMT) yesterday, Wednesday, February 15, 2017 at Osu in Accra.
The SRMT coordinator, Henry Sam, briefing the media after the exercise indicated that the company has defaulted in the payment of withholding tax since 2013 and all efforts to compel the company to honour its tax obligations have proven futile.
He added that the company also failed to have proper payment plan arrangement with tax authorities, hence the total closure of the business, adding that “when we asked them to bring a payment plan, they told us they can only pay GH¢5,000 a month. Meanwhile if you divide 5,000 over what they owe, it will take them 55 years to finish paying.”
Mr. Sam added that if the management of PackPlus fails to honour the payment within the 14 days, the GRA will auction their building to offset the debt.
The taskforce coordinator further stated that instead of PackPlus working hard to pay off the debt, they rather resorted to operating new accounts in order to prevent GRA officials from tracking their account.
He reminded all taxpayers who have failed to pay the right taxes to voluntarily approach the Tax offices and regularise their tax affairs by making full disclosures of their income, declare all incomes received for work done on the tax returns and pay the relevant taxes due to the GRA.
Mr. Sam cautioned that it’s part of the GRA policy statement for the year 2017 to arrest, prosecute, imprison, confiscate and sell properties of individuals that would default in tax payment.
More people to pay tax
The Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) says it will widen the tax net to cover all eligible taxpayers in order to increase domestic revenue generation of the country.
Though government has promised to reduce tax significantly, the GRA officials believe that if more people are captured on the tax net, it would be able to meet revenue target for 2017.
The officials welcomed government idea to reduce as it would enable entities and individuals to honour their tax obligations.
According Special Revenue Mobilization Taskforce (SRMT) Coordinator, Henry Sam bring on board more eligible taxpayers would increase revenue collection of GRA to facilitate national growth.
He said last year (2016) alone, the GRA was able to register about 801 companies and generated a whooping GH¢51million from these enterprises.
To ensure companies and individuals pay tax, he said the GRA was collaborating with the Municipal/Metropolitan/District Assemblies to track entities that do business with them and to know their tax performance on supplies, goods sold and contracts.
He added that the GRA is prepared to seal all loopholes that help people to escape tax payments with the use of intelligence led tax compliance checks.
“If we reduce tax rate, we can still maximize tax revenue if we are able to block all the loopholes,” he stated.
Mr. Sam made this statement at a press briefing to throw light on how the GRA had performed in revenue collection for 2016, yesterday in Accra.
During the 2016 tax year, the taskforce in collaboration with the various tax offices collected tax revenue to the tune of GH¢183,559,837.70, an increase of GH¢138,827,203.91 in 2015.
According to Mr Sam, the revenue was mainly generated from tax compliance checks undertaken by the taskforce using third party information.
He said the GRA was however challenged with poor record keeping, non-submission of tax returns, failure to valid invoices to justify claims on tax returns, multiple financial statements (tripartite accounts), and over reliance on provisional assessment as final tax.
Other challenges he mentioned are failure to withholding tax on payment made to 3rd parties, non-issuance/ selective issuance of VAT invoice for taxable supplies, false claim of tax exemptions without documentary proof and falsification of tax clearance certificate.
However, he promised that the GRA would strengthen its tax collection machinery this year by ensuring full compliance of non-compliant sectors, ensure massive debt collection and sanitize, educate and raise tax consciousness of the taxpaying public in order to encourage voluntary compliance.