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25.11.2011 Business & Finance

GRA to use picture ID numbers as tax identification numbers

By myjoyonline
GRA to use picture ID numbers as tax identification numbers
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The Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) says beginning next year, all registered businesses would be required to re-register using passport numbers, national ID, driver's license or voter ID numbers as tax identification numbers (TIN).

Project Manager for the GRA E-governance Project, Paul Kwakye told Adom News tax collection organisations like the VAT Service, Internal Revenue Service and CEPS used to give businesses tax identification numbers without asking for the picture ID cards of the business owners, but that has created room for people to do multiple registrations and evade tax.

He explained that the current regime left room for one person to use different names to represent separate businesses and acquire multiple TINs, and select the name and TIN to use based on the circumstances.

“Some of these business present very good books to the banks and financial institutions when they need loans, but when it comes to paying tax they present very bad books to the tax collection agencies using a different name and TIN and also have different TIN and name for clearing goods at the ports,” he said.

Mr. Kwakye said under the new regime that loophole would be sealed completely because local business owners would be required to use driver's license, voter's ID, national ID cards, or passport, whiles foreigners would be required to use passports; and the authenticity of those numbers could be verified at the issuing authorities through an automated system.

He noted that the new system would ensure that the top 20% of businesses which provided 80% of the national tax revenue paid the right level of taxes, adding that the non-formal sector business would also be roped in along the way through very well structured strategies under the new regime.

“We have categorised tax payers into three – those with a turnover of GHC5 million Ghana and above, and those considered as upstream businesses are all in one category – those with a turnover of between GHC900,000 and GHC5 million are in the medium category and those with a turnover lover than the VAT threshold of GHC90,000 are in the lower class,” he said.

Deputy Commissioner in charge of Modernisation at GRA, Mr. Samson A. Laryea Hammond noted that the GRA has now completed the full integration of the administration and operations of VAT Service, IRS and CEPS to create a one-stop-shop for tax payment for businesses.

He said the integration meant there was one Commissioner General for all three organisations to whom the individual commissioners report, adding that at the operational level too, everything had been integrated to enable people to use one tax ID number to deal with all the three at one point at a time.

Mr. Hammond said the new regime would also allow businesses to file tax returns online, and enable GRA to do one audit per business instead of all three tax collection agencies doing separate audits for one business.

“Currently the businesses which pay tax voluntarily are about 75% of registered businesses but we trust that under the new system it will rise to 80% and there will also be an incremental jump in taxes because the new system will ensure accurate determination of taxes due government,” he said.

Story by Samuel Nii Narku Dowuona/Adom News/Ghana

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