Parliament on Monday passed the Internal Revenue (Tax Amnesty) Bill, 2011, granting reprieve to tax defaulters, and seeking to widen the income tax net to improve Ghanas revenue inflows.
The introduction of the Bill is expected to motivate liable tax payers to voluntarily regularise their tax position with the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA), grant amnesty to certain categories of persons as stipulated by the law, from paying penalties and interest on outstanding taxes due the State.
The Bill stipulates that persons, who duly register with the GRA or the Registrar Generals Department submit or amend their tax returns or pays assess and outstanding tax within a certain time frame could benefit from the Amnesty.
The new law widens the scope of the amnesty to include persons who had previously registered with the GRA but have not renewed their registration, and those who have registered with the Authority but have not submitted returns or disclosed their incomes as required for a specific period, as well as persons liable to pay tax but who have previously not registered with the GRA.
The Law also preserves the prerogative powers of the Commissioner-General of the GRA to remit tax under section 158 of Act 592 and provides interpretation of the terms used in Act.
At the consideration stage of the bill earlier in the year, the Minority showed uneasiness, stating that the country stood to potentially loose significant revenue if the bill was passed into law, citing inherent flaws in the document.
But the Majority insisted that the tax reprieve in the Bill would enable a significant number of liable tax payers a break to start afresh in fulfilling their tax obligations that would result in the widening of the tax net to generate more revenue for the country.
The side also noted that the rebasing of the countrys Gross Domestic Product demanded that government took deliberate measures to improve tax collection, touting the waiving of penalties and interest for tax defaulters as a panacea to tax evasion.
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