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23.03.2004 Business & Finance

New Tax Unit to go into operation on April 1

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Accra, March 23, GNA - A new tax body - Large Taxpayers Unit (LTU)- comes starts operation on April 1, 2004, to receive tax returns from large taxpayers.

The LTU would be audit based and has so far initially selected 366 taxpayers to form its nucleus of operation.

Mr John Sotenga, Director of the LTU, said one of the main reasons for implementing the LTU was to secure tax revenue by ensuring compliance with basic returns filing and payment obligations. Mr Sotenga announced this in Accra at a seminar for finance and accounting personnel of companies selected to discharge their obligations to the LTU. The seminar was to introduce them to new business processes and procedures, which might be different from current practices.

The LTU is currently housed at the Large Taxpayer Office of the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), at the Ministries, Accra, but would move to Osu Kuku Hill on completion of its permanent offices. Taxpayers that come under the large taxpayers include institutions that employ 500 or more workers.

They are made up of banking institutions, petroleum product distributors, estate developers, utility services, telecommunications, government ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs).

Others are manufacturing, general trade, services, automobile dealers, insurance and IT providers.

Mr Sotenga said the Customs, Excise and Preventive Service (CEPS), the Internal Revenue Service and the Valued Added Tax (VAT) Service had come together to create the LTU, to administer the tax returns of large taxpayers that pay between 60 per cent and 70 per cent of the total tax returns.

He said having given the large taxpayers function to the LTU, the three revenue agencies would be enabled to expand and effectively discharge their other activities.

He announced that the LTU was working on a concept - Gold Card Programme - under which the LTU would identify some importers and give them faster clearance because of their track record in filing their tax returns.

Mr Alhassan Abubakar, Head of Quality Assurance and Objections, said all the companies paying tax under the LTU were to be self-assessing and that auditing would be effectively used to make them comply and submit reliable accounts.

He said the LTU would deal with five tax types - Corporate Tax; Pay As You Earn (PAYE); Withholding Tax; VAT and other payments such as interests, penalties and royalties.

Payment for PAYE would be due on or before the 15th day of the following month and returns would be submitted by the end of the month to help the office to determine total liability outstanding, should there be default in payment.

Payment for Withholding tax would be due by the 15th day of the following month and penalty for the late filing of VAT returns was one million cedis.

Participants, welcomed the new body, but said, however, that there should have been more education before the body came into force, just about a week away.

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