By Bernice Bessey
The Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) has given August 31, 2018 as the last day for those who fall under its tax amnesty categories to apply to discharge their tax obligations in exchange for forgiveness of the interest and penalties.
The Tax Amnesty Act 2017 (Act 955) is designed specifically to facilitate the regularisation of the tax affairs of persons who have defaulted in meeting their tax obligations, and update the GRA’s data base.
Since the Act also seeks to improve the tax compliance culture, thereby, broadening the tax net to lessen the burden on the few compliant taxpayers, the Tax Amnesty took effect from January, 2018, and will end on 30th September, 2018.
Under the Authority’s Tax Amnesty categorisation, persons who have already registered with it and had the opportunity to voluntarily submit outstanding tax returns from 2014 – 2017, and had paid the relevant taxes on all previously undeclared taxes without being made to pay the penalties and interests that would have been imposed under the Revenue Administration Act, 2016 (Act 915) and other tax laws, qualify for amnesty.
More also, the tax interest and penalty waived could be granted to potential taxpayers who are not registered with the GRA, but earned profits or other incomes for 2014, 2015 and 2016. They have the opportunity to register and submit all outstanding tax returns for the relevant period.
The information was contained in a statement released by the GRA Communication & Public Affairs Department.
The statement indicates: “It must be made clear that the tax amnesty is not bait but a genuine attempt to broaden the tax net and improve the compliance rate. All qualified persons should therefore take advantage of it before the expiry date.
“GRA will however, bring the full force of the law to bear on persons who refuse to take advantage of the law. After September 30, 2018, GRA will be tough and go after all recalcitrant persons earning income are supposed to pay tax but have refused.”
The Tax Amnesty Act requires the Commissioner-General respond within 30 days, application indicating approval or refusal of the tax amnesty with reasons, whilst an applicant who has been refused the amnesty could appeal against the decision, and within 30 days the Commissioner-General is obliged to respond to the complaint and notify the applicant accordingly.
In the same vein, persons who have been assessed and notified by or on behalf of the Commissioner-General, in respect of the tax or any mater relating to the tax, or under audit or investigation, do not qualify for the tax pardon.
Additionally, persons that have been notified of an enforcement action relating to failure to submit returns or pay any tax assessed or due do not also qualify for tax remission.
“A person is also disqualified to apply for the amnesty if he/she has failed to comply with any of the tax laws administered by the Commissioner-General relating to submission of returns or the payment of taxes,” the statement reinforces.