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12.12.2011 Regional News

GRA re-registration of companies kicks off

By   Richard Attenkah - Ghanaian Chronicle
Ms. Annie Anipa, Assistant Commissioner - Communication & Public Affairs of the GRAMs. Annie Anipa, Assistant Commissioner - Communication & Public Affairs of the GRA
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An exercise, aimed   at re-registering all  companies, both new  and existing ones, as well as employees and other business interests to ensure that all tax payers in the country are captured in the data of the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA), kicked off last Monday.

This was disclosed by Ms. Annie Anipa, Assistant Commissioner - Communication & Public Affairs of the GRA, at a one day workshop organised by the Customs Division of the GRA to interact with freight forwarders who are a key agency when it comes to the collection of import duties, and also discuss issues concerning evaluation, classification, and compliance among others.

Already, one such programme has been held at the Kotoka International Airport a few weeks back, and plans are also afoot for a similar workshop to be held at the Takoradi Port, all mainly with freight forwarders, while bringing onboard other interest groups as time goes on.

Making a presentation on the re-registration of companies, Ms. Anipa said it had become necessary for the GRA to register all tax payers, and give them a Tax Identification Number (TIN).

Ms. Anipa noted: 'We are doing this in conjunction with the Register General's Department, because the RGD is also conducting an exercise to register new businesses and re-register existing ones.'

According to her, the joint project seeks to capture the profile of tax payers, such that it will be very easy for the GRA, as a tax agency, to be able to retrieve information on tax payers any time.

'We believe that when we work together with the RGD, where the data is solid, and the data we are using as a revenue agency is integrated with that of the RGD, it is going to be easy for us to trace tax payers.

'As the agency, which has the sole responsibility for the payment of customs duty and other taxes in the country, it is very critical that the information we have on tax payers is comprehensive, and should cover every tax payer, whether it is import, income tax, or value added tax.'

She disclosed that previously, they had tax identification numbers for all tax payers, but the problem they encountered was that some tax payers had multiple tax identification numbers, saying that when this is done, it will afford her outfit the opportunity to ensure that every taxable person is captured in the electronic system data they had introduced.

Ms. Anipa explained that forms for the new registration had been made available at all the domestic tax revenue offices (i.e. former Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and VAT Services) throughout the country, for all tax payers to pick, fill, and return.

'There is no deadline for the end of the exercise, because we want to capture all tax payers,' she stressed.

Mr. Yaw Boakye Agyeman, Chief Collector at the Tema Port Long Room, took the participants through the harmonisation system being used internationally by members from all the 200 customs affiliates throughout the world.

According to him, this area was one which had always become a source of challenge, creating misunderstandings between the customs officers and importers.

He explained that it was important that importers give the exact description of their imported goods, not only to aid the valuation, but most importantly, to help data collection to assist the government to know the exact goods and the quantities imported into the country.

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