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06.01.2005 Regional News

Volta Region VAT office to intensify surveillance on budget hotels

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Ho, Jan. 6, GNA - The Volta Regional Value Added Tax (VAT) office is to intensify surveillance on Budget Hotels in the region to ensure that they issued VAT receipts to their clients, Mr Emmanuel Akpaku, Regional Head of the VAT Office told the Ghana News Agency (GNA) in Ho on Thursday.

He explained that the VAT office has had repeated reports of hotels there collecting the full cost of hotel lodgings without issuing receipts to cover VAT.

Mr Akpaku said while rated Hotels in the region were dutifully adhering to the VAT regulations, the smaller facilities were being adamant.

He conceded that it was difficult to get these hotels to comply, as it had always been with self-administered tax collection, but promised that with an augmented staff, VAT dodgers in that sector will be exposed.

"The VAT regime has been operational for about six years and no doubt people are devising ways to cheat the system but we would increase monitoring to rake in the optimum," Mr Akpaku stated.

He said a large number of VAT registered businesses in the region were Communication Centre operators where the rate of insolvency is high because of influx of mobile phones and increasing availability of pay phones.

Mr Akpaku said as a result, the number of registered businesses fell from 650 in 2003 to about 400 at the close of 2004.

He said presently Diamond Cement Ghana Limited (DCGL) at Aflao accounts for 95 per cent of VAT proceeds in the region with the rest coming mainly from hardware dealers, wholesalers, cement distributors and retailers, as well as hospitality businesses and importers. Mr Akpaku said VAT collection by the entertainment industry was negligible because that sector was dormant in the region.

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