A special task-force set up by the Bolgatanga Municipal branch of the Small Tax Office, of the Ghana Revenue Authority, GRA, has locked up some shops in Bolgatanga the capital of the Upper East Region for refusing to honour their tax obligations.
The GRA embarked on unannounced visit to the shops to collect outstanding debts from recalcitrant tax evaders. The Small Tax Office has so far collected eleven-point-four million Ghana cedis out of its annual target of sixteen-point-one million Ghana cedis, representing 71 per cent.
The exercise forms part of GRA’s comprehensive national tax campaign to encourage more Ghanaians to honour their tax obligations to enable the government to meet its domestic revenue targets, increase social intervention policies and accelerate development across the country.
It was also geared towards encouraging owners of shops and companies to understand the need to honour their mandatory obligation to the state. It was revealed that to improve tax compliance, GRA is exploring the use of technology to make it more convenient for the taxpayers.
The Bolgatanga Manager of Small Tax Office, Yusiif Musah Braimah, said the exercise was undertaken after a failed discussion and negotiations with the shop owners to pay their outstanding taxes to the Authority.
Mr. Braimah said the locked-up shops are required to visit the Small Tax Office to settle their debts to avoid further actions, including auctioning off the company’s facilities.
He said the exercise was to enforce tax compliance and improve on the Authority’s revenue generation. There were concerns about tax infractions by companies especially that of VAT and PAYE, which prevented the country from getting the needed revenue for development projects.
Shop owners and companies who had not paid their taxes were urged to do so to avoid any embarrassing situation. The GRA, in September, this year, launched a task force dubbed: “Operation Collect, Name and Shame,” aimed at collecting taxes that were overdue and the names of recalcitrant businesses were published in the media and asked to settle their debts.