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‘Tax system must be equitable and just to bring development’

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Government has been urged to put in measures to ensure that the tax system is equitable and just enough to serve both the developmental and democratic needs of the people.

The Executive Director of Resource Link Foundation (RLF), Chris Dapaah,  said Ghanaians must also honour their tax obligations to enable them to justifiably demand accountability and quality services from government and duty bearers.

He said this at a public forum in Kumasi on Tax Compliance and Responsibility in Ghana, aimed at promoting tax transparency and accountability for national development.

It was also to reduce poverty in the country through networking and effective partnership

It was organized by the Tax Justice Coalition – Ghana, a Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO), for Civil Society Organizations, traders, businesses and other identifiable institutions.

 It was on the theme: “Addressing Policy Challenges and Regulating Loopholes to improve Tax Compliance in Ghana.”

Mr Dapaah said government must also focus on strategies to tackle tax avoidance and evasions.

Among issues discussed were roles that the Ministry of Finance, the Ghana Revenue Authority, corporate institutions, citizens and development partners could play to ensure compliance and efficient resource mobilization.

Fiscal Policy Specialist with OXFAM, Dr Alex Ampaabeng, said sustained domestic revenue mobilisation would help finance development and that companies must be ranked based on how tax-compliant they were.

That, he said, was because tax responsibility was a new paradigm for doing businesses.

The Assistant Revenue Officer at GRA, Mr Prince Owusu Amankwah, said tax was a compulsory obligation imposed by government, which must be fulfilled freely and completely by all.

He mentioned challenges such as income splitting, extensive tax exemptions and transfer pricing, as some of the loopholes in effective tax management.

Mr Amankwah suggested the reduction in the number of businesses and organizations as well as individuals who were often granted tax exemptions.

Businesses must also keep and maintain proper records and provide accurate information to help in tax collection, he said.

The Head of the Revenue Department at the Kumasi Metropolitan Assembly (KMA), Mr David Abam Adjei, said tax evasion and providing false statements on tax payment were illegal and punishable by law.

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