The Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) has accomplished extraordinary achievement in exceeding the authority’s revenue objectives throughout a three-year period under the direction of Commissioner-General Rev. Dr. Ammishaddai Owusu-Amoah.
With a combined target of GH¢171.66 billion, the GRA was able to generate GH¢ 178.16 billion between 2020 and 2022, including revised targets of GH¢42.7 billion, GH¢57.02 billion and GH¢71.94 billion for 2020, 2021 and 2022 respectively. The GRA exceeded its target by GH¢6.5 billion, representing 3.79 percent in excess.
This outstanding performance can be attributed to the GRA’s commitment to applying technological initiatives, which improved transparency and efficiency in tax administration. Despite the challenges faced during the Covid-19 pandemic, the Customs Management System played a significant role in contributing to exceeding revenue targets in 2020.
The dedication of the GRA’s staff, along with the cooperation of taxpayers, has also been instrumental in the success achieved. The authority is poised to double its efforts in 2023 and the Commissioner-General has assured that his outfit will continue to enforce tax compliance to improve tax collection.
Taxpayers are urged to voluntarily comply with tax obligations, which will help the nation acquire sufficient funds for national development.
Prior to the 2020 pandemic year, the GRA was able to exceed its revenue targets in 2016 and 2018, while falling short in 2017 and 2019.
Key Policy Measures
In 2020, the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) implemented the Integrated Customs Management System (ICUMS) to replace the previous system for customs clearance. The new system aimed to improve efficiency, enhance revenue collection, and reduce revenue leakages in the customs process. The Authority has been making efforts to digitize its processes to improve efficiency and reduce corruption. For instance, in 2020, the GRA launched a digital platform for taxpayers to access its services, including filing tax returns and making payments.
During the 2021 fiscal year, the GRA introduced several initiatives to improve voluntary compliance in the filing of returns, payment of taxes and to ensure maximum revenue collection. These initiatives included the TIN/GhanaCard Policy, Prosecution Policy and Cashless Policy. Despite the challenges of the pandemic, the GRA exceeded its target, and IT systems like ICUMS and ITaPS minimized tax evasion and avoidance by making it convenient for taxpayers to honour their tax obligations.
The GRA also intensified tax education and sensitization programs, implemented a digital tax stamp system, and expanded the Large Taxpayer Office (LTO) in 2021 to improve compliance and revenue mobilization from large taxpayers. The Authority further strengthened its tax audit and investigation units to improve tax compliance and reduce revenue leakages.
In 2022, the GRA outlined new tax strategies to achieve the government's revenue target, including taxing e-commerce, online filing of taxes by large taxpayers, and taxing the online gaming and betting industries from April 2022. The Authority also intends to increase the value-added tax (“VAT”) penetration on online services and products. Additionally, the GRA plans to expand the pay-as-you-earn (“PAYE”) data by adding a minimum of 2 million new taxpayers to the database, widening the tax net to about 3 million by the end of December 2022, and leverage on property tax to increase rent tax by December 2022. Finally, the Authority intends to intensify auditing and taxing of the extractive industry and introduce a debt collection ratio of five percent (5%) or less by the close of December 2022.
In 2020, the Ghana Revenue Authority exceeded its revised revenue target by 6%, collecting GH¢45.338 billion compared to the revised target of GH¢42.7 billion. This was an increase of 3.3% over the same period in the previous year. Initially, the Authority had set a target of GH¢47.25 billion, which was later revised due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Customs Division of the Authority performed well, exceeding its target of GH¢10.9 billion by collecting GH¢12.6 billion, representing a 4.5% year-on-year increase.
Moving to 2021, the GRA achieved its revenue target of GH¢57.02 billion, collecting a little over GH¢57.32 billion, which was a growth rate of 26.3% over the 2020 revenue, the highest annual growth in the last decade. The Domestic Tax Revenue Division performed exceptionally well, collecting GH₵41.23 billion, which was a 25.6% improvement over the 2020 revenue performance. The Customs Division also performed impressively, collecting ¢16.08 billion, representing a 26.8% increase over the 2020 performance.
In 2022, the GRA mobilized GH¢75.5 billion in domestic revenue, exceeding its target by GH¢3.60 billion, representing a 5% increase over the previous year’s target of GH¢71.94 billion. This feat also meant that the GRA collected 31.5% more domestic revenue than in 2021.