The Sunyani office of the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) on Monday launched its second edition of the tax and good governance week program aimed at encouraging the filing of annual tax returns and ultimately increase the level of voluntary compliance among the taxpaying public.
The programme is also aimed at increasing awareness of the need for people to file their annual tax returns and to pay the appropriate taxes.
The program, chaired by Mr. Daniel Kwaku Mensah, Sector Commander of Customs Division in Sunyani, was attended by Mr. Yaw Kankam, Deputy Director of the Regional Coordinating council, who stood in for the Ahafo Regional Minister, police service, students from Sunyani Technical University and the University of Energy and Natural Resources, as well as Oboaman Bofotia Boamponsem, Krontihene of Sunyani Traditional Council.
Mr Kankam who launched the week long programme expressed the government’s determination to create prosperity and equal opportunities for all citizens through the various social intervention programmes.
He commended the management of the GRA for instituting the program and explained that the policy of Ghana beyond aid ‘is to ensure that the country depends significantly on the local financial resources for the development of the country instead of relying on foreign aid’.
The deputy director noted that for the novel policy to achieve its aim Ghanaians need to regularly pay their taxes to generate income for the nation’s development.
Mr. Mensah in a welcoming address disclosed that activities to be undertaken during the week-long programme would include media engagements, filing of annual tax returns by key personalities and all tax payers, setting up of tax clinics at vantage points, quiz competitions for selected tertiary institutions and sensitisation of selected basic schools.
He said the programme would also educate tax payers on their rights and responsibilities, the various tax policies and the need to honour all their tax obligations to the state.
The customs sector commander emphasised that “Income Tax Act, 2015 (Act 896), and the Revenue Administration Act, 2016 (Act 915), mandates a person to file his or her annual tax returns with the Commissioner General not later than four months after the year of assessment.”
The filing of annual tax returns and payment of taxes are not a matter of choice as both are statutory and a constitutional requirement, he said and cautioned that the full application of sanctions for failure to file annual tax returns on due date would be applied on defaulting tax payers.
Mr Mensah added that the GRA would identify, locate and bring into the net persons earning income but refuse to honour their civic responsibilities and urged all income earners to honour their civic responsibilities to the state by filing their annual tax returns.
Mr. Charles Antwi Bosiako, Chief revenue officer at the Sunyani office of GRA said the Authority had developed an electronic payment application called Integrated Tax Application and Operating System (ITAP) through which tax payers would conveniently file their personal income tax returns from the comfort of their homes and offices.
He said the mobile application will help tax collection and filing returns in the country and will serve as a one-stop shop for all its services.
Oboaman Bofotia Amponsem noted that taxation ‘is a tool that countries rely on and use to mobilise revenue to develop their economies’.
He urged all to pay tax to feel part of the nation and have the moral courage to demand for transparency and accountability in governance, as well as development projects in their communities.
The Krontihene tasked politicians to use the funds realised out of taxes paid judiciously to accelerate development in the country.
By: Rosemond Kissiwaa|myarkfmonline|