The power rationing programme made the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to loose revenue estimated at 140 billion cedis which it could have collected as taxes for government last year. This was because the exercise made many companies in the country to record low earnings which could be taxed by the IRS.
The Commissioner of IRS, Major Ablorh Quarcoo disclosed this at the formal opening of a three-day IRS Management Seminar at Akosombo , which ended on Saturday. The seminar was being organized under the theme: Improving organisational performance-The importance of effective management" and it was being attended by the top management personnel and regional managers of the service.
He said last year, the Service exceeded government target by 72.76 billion cedis and was able to collect more taxes getting to the end of the year through the efforts of a special task force set up by the service in November last year which also created public awareness for more tax payers to honour their tax obligations.
Major Quarcoo said, this year, the government revenue target had been raised from 7.3 trillion cedis to 8.9 trillion cedis, an increase of 22.13 per cent. He said the increase had been made at a time when government had abolished the reconstruction levy and made several tax concessions to companies in the 2007 budget statement.
Major Quarcoo said his organization was going to adopt a number of strategies to enhance tax collection to enable them to meet their new target, which include the re-launching of the tax stamp and the establishment of Small Taxpayers Bureau in the districts to bring in more potential taxpayers from the informal sector into the tax net. He said the Service would also use the Global Positioning System to enable the service to track properties to enhance rent tax collection.
Major Quarcoo said the Service would also develop the Income Tax Verification Sticker to track people who own several vehicles but do not pay taxes.
In a speech read on behalf of the Minister of Finance and Economic Planning, Mr. Kwadwo Baah Wiredu, he announced that government had decided to implement the computerization of the IRS this year. He said government had secured funding and the software for the computerization process to take off.
Mr Baah Wiredu urged the IRS to reciprocate the gesture of government by bringing in more tax revenue through a sustained tax education campaign to widen the tax net, the enforcement of tax laws to enhance compliance and the prosecution of tax defaulters to deter tax evasion. The Executive Secretary of the Revenue Agencies Governing Board, Mr Harry Owusu called on the IRS to come out with new ways of doing business without creating the atmosphere of harassment and intimidation of the tax payers.
He urged the IRS to extend love and courtesies to the tax payers and urged the service to strengthen its Public Relations outfit to engage the tax payers in dialogue. Mr Owusu reminded the managers of IRS that though automation was good, it was only a tool for the achievements of a set goal.
The Eastern Regional Director of IRS, Mr Joseph Oppong appealed for the relocation of the Nkawkaw Office, the renovation of the Akim Oda Office and the provision of vehicles for the offices of the Service in the region. He said though the region could not achieve its target for 2006, when the region was adequately resourced, it could do better.
The Deputy Governor of the Bank of Ghana and Acting Chairman of the Revenue Agencies Governing Board, Mr. Lionel Van Lare Dosoo, who chaired the function urged IRS management to critically look at how the re-denomination of the cedi would impact on their way of doing business and plan ahead to ensure that the IRS would be up to the task when the exercise starts in July this year.