Businesses Face Sanctions Over Tax Stamp Policy
Government has threatened to sanction businesses that fail to comply with the March 1st deadline for the implementation of the Tax Stamp Policy.
“Eligible businesses are respectfully advised to comply with the 1st March 2018 deadline or risk prescribed sanctions under the law,” Deputy Finance Minister, Kwaku Kwarteng said in a statement.
Earlier this week, the Food and Beverage Association of Ghana (FBAG) threatened to withdraw all locally manufactured products from the market if the government goes ahead with the implementation of the Tax Stamp Policy on March 1st.
The Local manufacturers in Ghana are worried that the implementation of the Tax Stamp Policy has the potential of collapsing local manufacturing companies.
Executive Secretary of FBAG, Samuel Aggrey, said all attempts to draw the attention of the government on their concerns have proved futile, hence the need to take drastic steps to drive home their concerns.
But the statement signed by the Deputy Minister of Finance said, “Government has been engaging with eligible businesses on the implementation of this policy, and will continue to listen to concerns of businesses. However such expression of concerns cannot be a substitute for obeying the law.”
“…government’s commitment now to the enforcement of the Excise Tax Stamp Act is total,” the statement added.
However, an Economist, Dr Eric Osei Asibey is asking government to tread cautiously in implementing this policy looking at the opposition that is coming from some firms.
“I think what should have been done is a lot more engagements and education as well as awareness to try to fashion the entire policy out with these players within this industry..."
He added, “I think there could always be a melting spot where the two can agree on the modalities. As far I’m concerned, I think it’s non-negotiable, we have to do everything possible to implement it to ensure that government’s tax yield is increased and tax compliance is also well enhanced.”
The Excise Tax Stamp Act, 2013 (ACT 873) was passed by Parliament in December 2013 with the aim of helping the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) enforce the affixing of Excise Tax Stamp on specific excisable goods before they are delivered ex-factory, cleared from any port or presented for sale at any commercial level in Ghana.
The ACT subsequently received presidential assent in January 2014.
The Excise Tax Stamp Act is definitely not an introduction of a new tax. It rather requires that Excise Tax Stamps with traceable and security-enhanced features on specified excisable commodities in order to serve as preliminary evidence of the payment of the required duties and taxes and to provide an audit trail for tracing importers and manufacturers of counterfeited goods.
Excisable Products expected to be affixed with the stamps include Cigarette and other Tobacco products, alcoholic beverages, non-alcoholic and carbonated beverages, bottled water, textiles and other goods determined by the minister of finance