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06.12.2011 Business & Finance

GRA Fights Tax Evasion At Ports

By Daily Guide
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The Customs Division of the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) has organized a day's workshop to sensitize freight forwarders who operate at the Kotoka International Airport (KIA) on the consequences of evading tax.

The freight forwards were taken through the importance of valuation and classification of imports and exports to help in the payment of taxes.

It was observed that most at times goods are misclassified while at times they are either under valued or over-valued to deny the state of the much-needed revenue.

Samual Aduah, Principal Collector at the Customs Division, said the importance of valuation of goods is not only for the purposes of duty but statistical purposes.

Valuation, he said, also helps to determine the basis on which advalerem import duties are to be calculated yet it is undermined by such negative practices such as suppression of invoices, under valuation, under and over invoicing.

'This forum has therefore been organized to sensitize you to eschew such negative practices. Put on a new cloth and see yourselves as worthy partners as far as revenue generation is concerned to help the government realize its dream of bettering the lot of the citizens.'

Commenting on classification, Gottfried Djannie, a principal collector at the KIA, observed that goods are usually misclassified, adding, 'Over a long time the classification of machinery and machine parts have always been problematic and we need to address this'

He said there is a general lack of appreciation of the importance of legal notes which spells out goods that are to be classified under exclusion, limitation of scope and the use of general interpretation rules.

Improper classification, he said, results in over or under payment of tariffs, delays in clearance time, distortion of statistical data and puts society at risk.

'This means you will be either taking too much from your clients or killing their businesses or you make them under pay and robbing the state.'

To curtail the phenomenon, clearing agents who engage in such practices are sanctioned and made to pay twice the amount involved.

'We have created a profile of defaulters and depending on the amount involved some companies have been banned.

By Emelia Ennin Abbey

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