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28.05.2012 General News

Neglect Of Nation's Infrastructure - Disincentive To Taxpayers

By Shirley Asiedu-Addo - Daily Graphic
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Participants at a tax education seminar in Cape Coast have said the neglect of the nation’s infrastructure for it to deteriorate is a disincentive to taxpayers.

They noted that while most well-meaning citizens were willing to pay tax, the poor state of infrastructure, including roads, schools and other public structures, discouraged many from wilfully paying tax.

“We see roads in terrible conditions. We see schools in deplorable states and we wonder where our taxes go to,” the participants, including shop owners, hoteliers, artisans, contractors and school proprietors, said.

The seminar, organised by the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA), was to educate taxpayers on the need to promptly pay taxes and the structure of the fairly new GRA.

The GRA was established by law in 2009 to replace the Revenue Agencies Governing Board, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), the Customs, Excise and Preventive Service (CEPS) and the Value Added Tax Service (VATS) for the administration of domestic taxes and customs duties in Ghana.

The GRA is to integrate and modernise the operations and management of domestic taxes and customs on functional lines.

The participants called for the judicious use of their taxes and complained about the rigorous procedures at the various tax offices.

The acting Central Regional Director of the Domestic Tax Revenue Division (DTRD) of the GRA, Mr Roger Kumah, said to ensure transparency, domestic tax administration would be supported with an integrated information technology system involving the electronic processing of returns filing, taxpayer accounting and collection to improve efficiency.

He assured taxpayers that the GRA would work to improve professionalism and service delivery.

He gave an assurance that the doors of the GRA were open for consultations.

Ms Annie Anipa, Assistant Commissioner, Communications and Public Affairs of the GRA, said the reforms were expected to help eliminate duplication in support of service functions and enhance revenue mobilisation.

She said the reforms would also reduce administrative and tax compliance cost and enhance inter-departmental information flow and called on all tax payers to support the reforms to be successful.

Mr Humphrey Loh, a former head of VATS, cautioned taxpayers against falsification or alteration of documents, saying offenders would be sanctioned.

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