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07.06.2006 Business & Finance

ChoiceFM Sealed Off

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The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has sealed off the premises of Sunshine Radio Ltd., operators of Choice FM(102.3 FM), in Accra, for defaulting in the payment of taxes running into hundreds of millions of cedis.

Consequently, the station is off air and its workers are banned from entering the premises until the indebtedness has been cleared.

The IRS says it is an offence for anyone to remove the seal without the authorization of the Commissioner of IRS.

The company is alleged to have defaulted in the payment of pay-as –you-earn (PAYE) tax on behalf of its workers since 2001, as well as corporate and with holding taxes since 1996. It has, however, not responded to several reminders by the IRS to regularize its tax obligations.

Two officials of the IRS, Mr K Twum- Barimah, the Kinbu District Head, and Mr Thomas Opoku- Amankwa, Assistant Inspector of taxes, executed the attachment at the premises of the radio station at about 11.30 am yesterday, with the support of the police.

The exercise was executed on the instructions of Mr Kwesi Yankah, Assistant Commissioner of the IRS in charge of Collection.

“This exercise is ongoing and the next people we are coming to are the professionals”, Mr Yankah cautioned.

He said under the IRS Law, companies were required to submit their accounts to the IRS at the beginning of each year for assessment.

“The law gives the commissioner the discretion to make a provisional assessment of companies which refused to comply and after 30 days if the company so assessed does not raise any objections, the assessment is deemed accepted and the collection process begins,” he explained.

Mr Yankah said Choice FM had not submitted its returns since 1996 and turned a deaf ear to several demands to submit its returns.

He said the radio station did not respond to a demand notice, penalty and notice of appearance sent to it by the IRS and that left the service with no option but to evoke the enforcement procedure.

According to Mr Yankah, another radio station in Accra, which also defaulted in its tax obligations, was spared because it made some initial payment and a “satisfactory arrangement” to pay the debt by installment.

About a month ago, the IRS sealed off the premises of SNAPS Educational Institute in Accra for defaulting in the payment of taxes.

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