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Business & Finance | Nov 17, 2004

Internal Revenue Service launches website

GNA

Accra, Nov. 17, GNA - The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has improved its services to the nation through the establishment of a customer oriented Internet website to enhance voluntary tax compliance and lower cost of collection.

The Internet site to be accessed at www.internalrevenueservice.gov.gh or www.irs.gov.gh was developed by the IRS in May in close collaboration with the Good Governance Programme of the German Technical Cooperation (GTZ).

It is to encourage individuals and businesses to meet their legal obligations by providing a collection of services online including tax laws, assessment and taxpayers' rights, downloadable tax forms and information of all IRS offices.

Mr Yaw Osafo-Maafo, Minister of Finance and Economic Planning, in a speech read by the Deputy Minister of Finance and Economic Planning, Mr Agyeman Manu, he stressed the need to inform taxpayers through a comprehensive, transparent and equitable tax system.

He said the importance of tax revenue to Ghana's accelerated development could not be over-emphasised as it reduced the dependency of the State on foreign transfers.

Mr Osafo-Maafo said the three revenue agencies - IRS, Value Added Tax (VAT) Service and the Customs, Excise and Preventive Service (CEPS) had exceeded their revenue targets by 17.1 per cent.

"The IRS collected about 260 billion cedis more, VATS collected about 171 billion cedis more and CEPS collected 659 billion cedis more." He said to improve on that, there was the need to adequately inform the taxpayers and deliver appropriate services by designing a vibrant tax system, which was a precondition for voluntary tax compliance.

He expressed his gratitude to the Federal Republic of Germany and GTZ for the assistance to establish the Internet project as part of its policy to enhance good governance in line with the Ghana Poverty Reduction Strategy (GPRS).

Mrs Janet Opoku-Acheampong, Commissioner of IRS, said the Service should be computerised so that taxes could be paid through the banks as was being done with other services.

She said the site would be improved by translating information into Ghanaian languages for the taxpayer, especially those in the private sector, to know their rights.

Mrs Opoku-Acheampong said Tax Stamps approved by Parliament would soon be launched to capture everybody in the system to increase revenue. Dr Christoph Habammer from the GTZ said Ghana was estimated to have 500,000 Internet users and with the website individuals and businesses could meet their obligations.

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