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03.04.2006 Business & Finance

CEPS urges tax defaulters to pay up


Accra, April 3 GNA - The Ghana Customs, Excise and Preventive Service (CEPS) on Friday appealed to tax defaulters, especially vehicle owners, to come forward to verify documents on their vehicles and pay taxes on them.

The Service urged vehicle owners, who were now being told that documents covering their vehicles were fictitious to contact the Service to regularise their transactions before June 30.

They should contact the CEPS Headquarters in Accra or the Chairman of the Revenue Mopping up Exercise, also at the Headquarters in Accra, for all matters in connection with verification of documents. Mr Hopeson Nyaxo, Chief Internal Auditor, reiterated that vehicle owners, who would voluntarily come forward to verify their documents would be offered benefits such as rescheduling the payment of taxes and have their penalties waived.

The Driver and Vehicle Licensing Authority (DVLA) would also formalise all documents on the affected vehicles without sanction. Mr Nyaxo said the Service had from March 31, 2005, begun publishing registration numbers and vehicle types in the media and requested owners to present their vehicles and accompanying documents for verification within 10 working days.

After the amnesty expires on June 30, 2006, CEPS would search, arrest and prosecute all defaulters and un-costumed vehicles. Mr Nyaxo said investigations had revealed that about 53 per cent of vehicles registered in the country used fictitious documents, and 99 per cent of them had been found to have entered country under the temporary importation regime.

The CEPS consequently lost a total of two trillion cedis from 2001-2005.

He said the ongoing monitoring exercise had also shown a fraudulent registration of vehicles without payment of appropriate duties and taxes, with the use of forged signatures of DVLA officials and fictitious documents.

Some garages had also sold vehicles to unsuspecting buyers below the market values, Mr Nyaxo said. In line with the drive to stamp out these nefarious activities, CEPS advised vehicle buyers to ensure that the full duties and taxes had been paid before taking delivery. In addition, ownership must be provided on all vehicles imported into the country.

Mr Edward Noi, Deputy Commissioner, Preventive, urged vehicle buyers to consider proper documentation aside low prices when purchasing vehicles.

He said the GCNET would be accessed by the Police to track down smuggled vehicles.

Mr Joseph Osei-Owusu, Chief Executive of DVLA, said the situation involved sophisticated criminals and appealed for public cooperation to deal with the canker.