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17.03.2009 General News



The Sekyere East District Association of Small Scale Industries has, at a meeting with officials of the Internal Revenue Service, pleaded for the establishment of a collection office in the district to facilitate tax collection.

Making their case, the businessmen said they travelled long distances just to honour their tax obligations. These trips have cost implications to the profitability of their business, including loss of man hours and transport fares, not to mention the risks to their lives.

This is because tax officers assigned to collect taxes in the area visit once in a quarter. Because they are unable to reach all taxpayers, the unreached find themselves in tax arrears.

The Times is surprised at this turn of events. Is this not the country where business people and the general working population are averse to paying taxes?

Is this not the country where the government is faced with the challenge of roping into the tax net thousands of business people, mainly in the informal sector?

So why should anybody “make a case”, that is to say, convince the Internal Revenue Service to open a dedicated tax office wherever there is a proliferation of businesses.

In the case of the Sekyere East District, there are about 800 businesses grouped under 11 associations. Quite a large number by all standards. This figure, we are told, excludes other businesses that are not artisanal in nature.

What has been the cause of the delay? We are certain that, the problems cannot include human resources or physical structure for offices, because we are told that buildings abound that can be converted for use as offices.

It has taken the boldness of the business people in the district to voice their frustration and to make a case. How many other districts are being left untaxed because of lack of a tax office? Why should business people be stretched beyond limit to make their tax obligations?

The efficiency of the IRS as a tax collection agency is almost proverbial, what with annual declarations of having exceeded targets for the year.

The men at the top are known to be some of the finest tax brains in the country, and the workforce is said to have a track record of dedicated service to the nation.

We are certain that, as in the past, the management of Ghana's Tax Office will rise to the occasion by responding swiftly to the challenge of lack of offices in certain parts of the country because of which some business people are outside of the tax net.

Let the taxes flow.