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19.01.2005 Regional News

IRS launches New Tax Stamp in Tamale

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Tamale, Jan. 19, GNA - Artisans in the Tamale Metropolis on Tuesday said the New Tax System introduced and launched by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) targeting small-scale self-employed persons throughout the country was going to further put many of them out of business.

The artisans, mainly tailors and dressmakers explained that life was already unbearable for many of them in Ghana because of the country's economic hardships and compelling people who could only generate a little to support themselves and their families to pay such Tax was going to compel the same people to stop operating because they were not making profit.

Alhaji Easah Goodman, Northern Regional chairman of the Association of Ghana Industries (AGI) raised these concerns at the Northern Regional launch of the New Tax Stamp in Tamale.

Alhaji Goodman said, Any country that does not spread its tax net would continue to depend on external sources and we do appreciate the government spreading its net, adding, "but we are pleading with the government to consider some of us who are not making any profit so that we keep life going." He said the people of the north were going to suffer most because the conditions there were not favourable and no employment, adding that any effort to Tax them would mean that they would be out of business.

Alhaji Goodman said the way the New Tax had been divided in four quarters was not also going to favour those in the northern sector because, those there had only the months of October, November and December, which, he said, were harvesting period for people to get money to acquire new clothes.

Other artisans who contributed expressed concern about how the IRS could determine the higher earning operators and charge the Tax since there were small operators who earn more than big kiosk operators and called on government to revisit the issue so as not to throw them out of business.

Mr. George Lamptey, Deputy Commissioner of the IRS in-charge of the Northern Region assured the artisans that the New Tax Stamp was not meant to throw them out of business but the surest way of increasing revenue for the development of the country.

He said the Service would embark on educational campaign on all the media to sensitise the public on the system for easy understanding to avoid confusion when the Stamp becomes fully operational.

In a speech read on her behalf during the launch, Mrs Janet Opoku Acheampong, Commissioner of IRS underscored the importance of introducing the New Tax Stamp system.

She said in the past the service tried to rely on some identifiable groups for the collection of taxes from their members but freedom of association made some of them to break away and were avoiding to pay tax.

Mrs Acheampong said due to the difficulties involved in collecting tax from the self-employed resulting in persistently low collection rate, IRS initiated action with regard to introducing the Tax Stamp as an effective collection strategy.

In a speech read for him, the out-going Northern Regional Minister, Mr Ernest Debrah called on the management and staff of the IRS to intensify educational campaign on the Tax Stamp for it to succeed.

Mr. Debrah also called on operators in the informal sector to accept and regard the new tax system as a challenge and contribution to national development and that those who disagreed with the quarterly tax could file their returns at the end of the year.

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