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02.05.2007 Business & Finance

Ministers, MPs file tax returns

By Chronicle

Some Ministers of State and Members of Parliament (MPs) has filed their tax returns at the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) head office in Accra to meet this year's tax filing deadline.

Professors Mike Oquaye and Dominic Fobih, Ministers for Communication, and Lands, Forestry and Mines respectively, were among the first Ministers to honour their tax obligations.

Also, Dr. Samuel Owusu Adjei and Dr. Anthony Akoto Osei, Deputy Ministers for Health and Finance and Economic Planning respectively, took turns to file their returns on the day.

In addition, the Commissioner of the IRS, Major Daniel Ablorh Quarcoo also filed his returns as well as the former Head of IRS, Mr. David Adom who filed for himself and the flagbearer of the National Democratic Congress, Professor John Evans Atta Mills.

Mr. Doe Adjaho, Member of Parliament for Avenor-Ave in the Volta Region also filed his tax returns ahead of many other MPs who were expected to turn up during the day to honour their tax obligations as Legislators.

The Chief Inspector of Taxes, Mr. Benedictus Danu in whose office the Ministers and MPs filed their tax returns, told Business Chronicle that his office had extended the invitation to all Ministers, Members of Parliament, Chief Directors and Institutions to endeavour to file their taxes by Monday, the last day for doing so.

He explained that IRS has set aside the month of April in every year for individuals and corporate organizations that have chargeable incomes to file their tax returns and provide information that would help the Service in tax assessment.

He pointed out that this system of filing taxes was adopted three years ago and failure to file returns from the beginning of the year till the last day of April attracts penalties.

According to him, filing tax returns within two months after April attracts a penalty of 20% of the total tax return while those filed after three months attract 30%.

Also, the IRS Commissioner said the response to this year's exercise had been good though there have been similar responses in previous years particularly from the leadership of government.

“I believe that you have seen a few Ministers and Parliamentarians coming in to fulfill their tax obligations and that is what we want. “We want the nation to know that their leadership is setting the example and all of us as citizens of this country must also come forward and do what is right”, he added.

On his part, the Communication Minister said he had come to file his returns because he also wanted to contribute to the tax system and lamented that the tax system was not growing because people did not want to contribute to it.

He indicated that most people were not knowledgeable on the topic of tax hence there should be more sensitization for people to appreciate the need for them to pay taxes for the provision of developmental projects.

The IRS Regional Head of Accra Zone One, Mrs. Lydia Amamoo said it was important for people to file their taxes to help the IRS make a correct assessment of their returns and also be able to take advantage of tax reliefs of which many people were ignorant.

She explained that there are children, old age and disabled reliefs that are accessible to tax payers, stressing, “if you are married or a single parent, we also have tax relief for you but if you don't approach us, you will not know all these things.”