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18.09.2003 Business & Finance

VAT Service generates 28 per cent income

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Accra, Sept. 17, GNA - The Commissioner of the Value Added Tax Service (VAT), Mr Joseph Odartey Blankson said on Wednesday that the Service has about 23,000 registered traders.
Mr Blankson, who was speaking at the launch of a four-month nationwide VAT Outreach Education Programme, which is under the theme: "Insist On Your VAT Invoice, It Is Your Contribution To National Development", began on Wednesday with the staff of the service going on a float through the principal streets of Accra.
It was organised by the VAT Service Ladies Association to register businesses that qualify to register but had not yet registered as well as to undertake a one-on-one visit, as part of a continuous effort by the Service to educate VAT registered persons and the public on the scheme.
Retailers, manufacturers, wholesalers and distributors, whose annual turnover is 100 million cedis and above and service providers all in the list of those who qualify to register.
Mr Blankson said there were a number of them that should have registered for VAT by law but they had failed to do so while others too have been selective in charging the VAT.
He said some also either failed to issue official VAT invoice; deliberately submitted nil returns or failed to pay to the VAT Service the VAT collected.
This he noted resulted not only being unfair to those, who were law-abiding and paid their taxes but was also a loss of revenue to the State.
Mr Blankson said under the VAT law a trader, who failed to register was liable on summary conviction to a fine not exceeding 10 million cedis or imprisonment for a term not exceeding five years or both.
Mr Blankson said maximum compliance with the law would create a level playing field for all registered persons thereby making it possible for traders in the same industry to quote competitive prices. He appealed to customers to insist on collecting their VAT invoices wherever they purchased goods and services.
Mr Samuel Nii-Noi Ashong, Minister of State for Economic Planning, who launched the programme, said since independence Ghana had been requesting for assistance in the form of loans, grants although she had the ability and capacity to collect enough revenue for development through the payment of taxes.
He called on the people to resolve to improve their understanding of the VAT and recognise it as one of the important ingredients for development and to resist the temptation of assisting unpatriotic traders not to charge and collect VAT.
Mr Paa Kofi Ansong, Public Relations Officer for Ghana Traders Union Associations, said the majority of traders were not educated and did not keep records, they could, therefore, not go according to the complex VAT system.
He suggested to the VAT Service to categorise the traders, give a fix amount that would be spread over a period of time for the illiterate traders to send their VAT returns.

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