06.10.2004 Business & Finance

GTZ to conduct survey of large taxpayers views

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...on performance of the Large Tax Payers Unit Accra, Oct 6, GNA - The German Development Cooperation (GTZ), under the Good Governance Programme, Ghana, on Wednesday, launched an official survey to evaluate views and levels of satisfaction of taxpayers, on the performance of the Large Tax Payers Unit (LTU).

The Unit, launched by the Government in April this year provides a one-stop agency that handles all tax liabilities of companies with annual turnovers in excess of 30 billion cedis, and have over 500 employees, who contribute between 60 per cent to 70 per cent of its total revenue.

At a press briefing, Mr Harry Owusu, Executive Secretary of the Revenue Agencies Governing Board (RAGB), tasked with ensuring better service delivery to large taxpayers, said the only way to offer quality service was to find out the wishes and needs of the customers.

He explained that the RAGB was, therefore, collaborating with the GTZ, which was one of its international institutional tax advisors to interact with large taxpayers to learn more about their needs.

Mr Owusu said responses received after the survey, would be evaluated by the GTZ, which would further give appropriate advice to implement measures, that would enhance voluntary tax compliance and increase revenue for development.

Mr John E. K. Sotenga, Director, LTU, explained that the Unit was an amalgamation of all existing Large Taxpayers Office (LTO) of the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and the Large Trader Control and Excise Unit of the Value Added Tax Service.

He mentioned the three divisions of the LTU as the Audit whose dealings were automated to prevent corruption, the Collection Enforcement Unit, which sees to the collection of taxes and the Returns, Processing and Accounting Unit.

"It is envisaged that the LTU will link the information and operations of Customs, IRS and VAT for large taxpayers, monitor their import and export activities and provide services that are commensurate with their contribution to the economy," he said.

Mr Sotenga stated that before the creation of the LTU, The IRS and the VAT Service had made separate efforts to monitor the operations of large taxpayers through their specialised Units and these led to lack of information sharing for optimum revenue collection.

It also resulted in duplication of efforts on the part of tax officers and subsequent loss of productive hours to large taxpayers. He said the LTU would provide immense benefits for both the large taxpayer and the professional tax official, by ensuring a timely filling of tax returns, timely auditing, fair and equitable application of tax laws and eliminate duplication.

Dr Christoph Habammer, Finance and Tax Advisor, GTZ, said it was important that the concerns of taxpayers were treated with urgency and thus responses from the survey would be immediately evaluated so that appropriate measures would be taken to satisfy the request of the Large Taxpayer.

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