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21.12.2004 General News

Internal Revenue Bill goes through Second Reading

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Accra, Dec.21, GNA - Parliament on Tuesday unanimously voted the Internal Revenue (Registration of Business) Bill through the second reading.

The bill seeks to re-enact with amendments the Income Tax (Registration of Trade, Business, Profession or Vocation) Law, 1986 (PNDCL 156).

Moving for the motion, Mr. Yaw Osafo Maafo, Minister of Finance and Economic Planning, said, the current law on registration of businesses was enacted in 1986 at a time when there was strict regulation due to scarcity of goods labelled essential commodities. In view of this, the emphasis for registration of businesses was on traders mainly wholesalers and retailers.

He said rates fixed were rather on the high side since businesses were categorised according to their turnovers.

The Minister said professionals have been added to the list because of the perception that they were not fulfilling their tax obligations. He reasoned: "Registration for tax purposes should be for the limited objective of identifying the tax payer, by making sure that they are in the tax net for effective monitoring to ensure compliance with the tax law."

"It should not be used as a source of generating revenue for the State. The fees payable upon registration of a business are set at a reasonable level to ensure this objective. It is only the recovery cost, as user fee, that is charged and nothing else."

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