By Papisdaff Abdullah
Ghana’s Vice President Dr Mahamudu Bawumia has challenged the country’s citizens to honour their civic obligations to the State by filing their tax returns in order to mobilise domestic revenue to help meet development aspirations.
The vice president said mobilising adequate domestic revenue will also help achieve President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo’s vision of a Ghana Beyond Aid.
Emphasising the importance of domestic revenue mobilisation to national development across the world, Dr. Bawumia stated: “All over the world, taxation is the main tool countries rely on to mobilize revenue to develop their economies and provide services to their people. Perhaps least talked about and also less understood by many of us is that whatever the advanced countries send to us as aid is the result of their own ability to mobilize domestic resources. What we take for granted as aid resources, is the result of their capacity to raise taxes, especially income tax. As we embark on this journey of Ghana Beyond Aid, it is imperative for us to take rigorous and decisive steps to raise enough income tax.”
The Vice President made the call for greater tax compliance when he launched the 2018 “Tax and Good Governance Week” organised by the Ghana Revenue Authority in Accra, on Friday April 6, 2018. The celebration is under the theme “Filing your tax returns, your civic responsibility”, and is aimed at getting all eligible tax payers to file their tax returns on or before the deadline of 30th April, 2018.
Vice President Bawumia bemoaned the poor tax paying culture in the country, indicating that though potential employees in the country are estimated at 6 million individuals, only about 1.5 million persons are registered with the Ghana Revenue Authority and pay their Pay As You Earn (PAYE).
“In fact, Ghana ranks below Cote d’Ivoire, Kenya, Senegal, Cape Verde and Swaziland in terms of the contribution of payroll tax to GDP. In 2015/2016 fiscal year, PAYE contributed about 15% of total domestic revenue, the self-employed about 1.1% and corporate tax about 19%. The combined contribution of about 35% is significantly below Singapore’s 50%, South Africa’s 54%, Canada’s 58% and Denmark’s 60%.”
“Let me reiterate that filing of tax returns, in addition to being the civic responsibility of every Ghanaian, is also a requirement by law. The Income Tax Act 2015 (Act 896) and the Revenue Administration Act, 2016 (Act 915) mandate every eligible person to file an income tax return with the Commissioner-General not later than four months after the end of each year of assessment.
“This campaign is therefore meant to remind and educate all categories of persons on this civic requirement and encourage the general public to visit any of the offices of the Ghana Revenue Authority across the country and file their tax returns if they haven’t already done so before the end of April, 2018.”
The President, Dr Bawumia disclosed, has directed all Ministers of State, Government Appointee and Public Officials to file their tax returns before the deadline.
“During this programme, GRA will mount tax clinics at specific places to assist citizens with the filing of their tax returns as well as other tax related matters. The tax return forms have been modified to make it easier to fill. Arrangements are also being made to provide a more efficient electronic system for filing returns in the very near future.”
Vice President Bawumia, together with a number of Government Ministers and Deputies who were at the launch, have since filed their tax returns at the offices of the Ghana Revenue Authority in Accra.