The Commissioner of the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), Major Daniel S. Ablorh-Quarcoo (Rtd), has cautioned taxpayers against concealing their incomes and said the Service intended to deploy a Geographic Positioning System to track down landlords who refused to pay tax on the rent income earned.
He said the Service was entering a new era and processes were underway to make it a stronger and more effective tax administration.
Major Ablor-Quarcoo was speaking at the launch of the Fourth Revenue Week celebration in Accra under the theme: “Your Tax Returns: A Fair Way of Assessing Your Income to Tax.”
The celebration is to remind and educate the public that it is not just enough to pay taxes, but it is equally important to file one's tax returns at the right time.
Section 72 of the Internal Revenue Act (2000), Act 592, states that all persons are required to furnish their Returns of Income for a Year of Assessment within four months after the end of the Year of Assessment.
Major Ablorh-Quarcoo said it was the expectation of the IRS that the self-employed, operating as sole proprietors, partnerships and corporate bodies, whose accounting dates coincide with the year of assessment would duly file their tax returns by April 30.
He said he was worried that sections of the public had not yet cultivated the habit to voluntarily file tax returns and appealed to the media to collaborate with the service in educating the public in that area.
“Filing tax returns gives the tax authorities the opportunity to raise a fair and correct assessment on incomes. Besides, it is important to file returns because it is a statutory requirement, it enables businesses to claim allowable expenses and capital allowances, and it promotes voluntary payment of taxes.
“It also promotes tax consciousness and good citizenship and enables an individual taxpayer to claim appropriate relief such as Marriage/Responsibility, Child Education, Old Age Dependant, Old Age Disability, Life Assurance and Cost of Training.
The Commissioner explained that in the case where one overpaid his/her taxes, credit would be made available for that person's use and encouraged the public to file their returns to enable them to take advantage of all the relief.
He announced that effective from May 1 this year, the payment of one per cent tax on the CIF value of imported goods in commercial quantities would be integrated into the GC Net system operated by the Customs, Excise and Preventive Service.
Major Ablorh-Quarcoo said that would enable importers to clear goods faster and improve service delivery as well.
It would also minimize fraud and reduce all forms of malpractices associated with the existing arrangements and enhance revenue collection of the service.
He also announced the automation of two of the service's offices at Kinbu and Osu in Accra to ensure efficient service delivery. “We shall roll out gradually to cover all districts during the course of the year,” he said.
The IRS boss took the opportunity to deny that the Service connived with a stevedoring company to evade taxes.
He said the IRS conducted a tax audit to establish a tax liability of Golden Gate Service, which it did not deny, even though it objected to the magnitude of the liability.
“The Commissioner proceeded to cause the suspension of the release of a Tax Clearance Certificate which they needed to renew their licence, until they had made satisfactory arrangements towards the settlement of the obligations.
“How can this be described as abuse of discretion and connivance for evasion of tax?”