The Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) has arrested the branch managers of major shopping centres – Koala, Max Mart and Palace Mall –all in Accra.
The arrest was affected at Koala, Osu and Cantonments branches, Max Mart, 37 and Cantonments branches and Palace Mall, Labone branch.
Max Mart and Koala branches were indicted for non-issuance of electronic Value Added Tax (VAT) invoices while Palace Mall for duplicating the VAT invoice signature.
Head of Accra Area Tax Enforcement, Joseph Annan, told journalists after an enforcement exercise recently that the Authority had done everything humanly possible including educating and persuading these companies to comply with Ghana’s tax regime voluntarily, but they have failed.
According to him, the Authority was left with no other option than to deploy its last but one compliance tool, which is enforcement.
He said the last tool of tax compliance is prosecution, which non-compliant entities, after police investigations would be hauled before a court of competent jurisdiction.
Mr Annan explained that any entity found guilty by the court is likely to pay about 1500 penalty units or the natural person involved would be sentenced to not more than five years imprisonment.
Similarly, if the Authority is able to determine how much tax was at stake, the defaulting company would pay three times the amount.
“We are all looking into getting these cases to court as early as possible. We have always tried to be humanly possible because we are dealing with human beings. So we try to manage the situation, but in situations where we try and see that you are trying to pull a fast one on us, then of course we will go according to the books.
“We are looking at the sections of our VAT Act, as amended and the Revenue Administration Act. When you look at the VAT Act, the prescribed sanctions are under Section 58 & 59. The maximum penalty units that can be applied is 1500 and each penalty unit is GH¢12.00.
“And if you look at the imprisonment that can be levied on you that is not more than five years. That is what is applicable under the law.”