GRA urged to be more aggressive to bring in more taxpayers

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Participants at a tax dialogue in Takoradi have called on the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) to intensify its efforts to get more potential taxpayers to broaden the tax net.

According to them, the GRA rather has to be more aggressive in getting more people to pay tax, noting that there was fatigue among the few taxpayers in the country.

The participants were made up of policymakers and stakeholders from the private sector businesses from the hospitality industry, construction, oil and gas, services among others.

The dialogue which was organised by the Ghana Ant-Corruption Coalition (GACC) formed part of activities under an Oxfam-funded project dubbed “Promoting progressive property taxation and tax compliance in Ghana.

It would among other things assess the challenges and opportunities around corporate taxation for a more efficient and accountable tax administration in Ghana.

The appeal of the participants followed statistics provided by Mr George Amankwa-Boateng, Takoradi Area Director of the GRA that less than three million of the 18 million potential taxpaying population paid taxes in Ghana.

Out of that figure, Mr. Amankwa-Boateng said 32.3 percent were employees while 45,000 came from corporate bodies.

Dr Alex Ampaabeng, Fiscal Policy Specialist with Oxfam encouraged the GRA to work with the relevant bodies to broaden tax education for potential taxpayers to understand the need to pay taxes.

He stressed the need for the GRA to see tax payment as a relationship-building and not a fight and therefore called for a more corporative relationship in the tax administration.

He mentioned that Oxfam together with its partners would soon launch a “Ghana Responsible Tax Index” where companies would be ranked based on their tax responsibilities and rewarded accordingly.

Additionally, he said there would be a Ghana Tax Forum to solicit inputs from stakeholders regarding tax administration in Ghana.

According to him, the only way to achieve voluntary tax compliance was for the Government to be accountable to the people, stressing that tax accountability was equally on the agenda of the tax dialogue project.

Mrs Beauty Emefa Narteh, Executive Secretary of the GACC said the dialogue sought to explore the challenges and create the platform for stakeholders to engage the GRA on the best possible ways to increase tax compliance and accountability.

This, she stressed was critical because tax mobilization had a direct impact on the development of the country.

To her, there would be no need to seek foreign aid and borrowing if the country was able to mobilize internal resources and manage them well.

The challenges the participants raised included high taxes, lack of education, inequalities, and stress the need to ensure fairness in the tax administration.

They also stressed the need to protect local companies especially those who had made strategic investments.

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