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Tax compliance is a civic obligation and a requirement of law—Dr Bawumia

Ghana’s Vice President, Dr Mahamudu Bawumia, has challenged Ghanaians to honour their civic obligations to the state by filing their tax returns in order to mobilize domestic revenue to help meet the country’s development aspirations.

 

Dr Bawumia said mobilizing adequate domestic revenue would also help achieve President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo’s vision of a Ghana beyond aid, which includes striving to be as self-financing as much as possible in order to own our development agenda.

 

The Vice President made the call for greater tax compliance when he launched the 2018 “Tax and Good Governance Week” in Accra on Friday.

 

The celebration, which is being organized by the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) on the theme: “Filing your tax returns, your civic responsibility”, is aimed at getting all eligible tax payers to file their tax returns on or before the deadline of April 30, 2018.

 

During the programme, GRA will mount tax clinics at specific places to assist citizens with the filing of their tax returns as well as other tax related matters.

 

This campaign is, therefore, meant to remind and educate all categories of persons on this civic requirement and encourage the general public to visit any of the offices of the Ghana Revenue Authority across the country and file their tax returns if they have not already done so before the end of April 2018.

 

Emphasizing the importance of domestic revenue mobilization to national development, Vice President Bawumia noted that all over the world, taxation was the main tool countries relied on to mobilize revenue to develop their economies and provide services to their people.

 

He said whatever the advanced countries sent as aid were the results of their own ability to mobilize domestic resources, especially income tax.

 

He reminded Ghanaians that the filing of tax returns, in addition to being the civic responsibility of every Ghanaian, was also a requirement of law, citing the Income Tax Act, 2015 (Act 896) and the Revenue Administration Act, 2016 (Act 915) which mandate every eligible person to file an income tax return with the Commissioner-General not later than four months after the end of each year of assessment.

 

Dr Bawumia, therefore, called for rigorous and decisive steps to raise enough income tax as Government embarked on this journey of a Ghana beyond aid.

 

He disclosed that the President had directed all Ministers of State, Government Appointees and Public Officials to file their tax returns before the deadline.

 

The Vice President said the tax return forms had been modified to make it easier to fill and that arrangements were also being made to provide a more efficient electronic system for filing returns in the very near future.

 

Available statistics indicate that although potential employees in the country are estimated at 6 million individuals, only about 1.5 million persons are registered with the GRA and pay their Pay As You Earn (PAYE).

 

The statistics also show that Ghana ranks below Cote d’Ivoire, Kenya, Senegal, Cape Verde and Swaziland in terms of the contribution of payroll tax to Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

 

In the 2015/2016 fiscal year, PAYE contributed about 15% of total domestic revenue, the self-employed about 1.1% and corporate tax about 19%. 

 

The combined contribution of about 35% is significantly below Singapore’s 50%, South Africa’s 54%, Canada’s 58% and Denmark’s 60%, the statistics indicate.

 

Source: ISD (Rex Mainoo Yeboah)