GRA To Introduce Self-Assessment Policy For Taxpayers

The Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) would from 2015, allow taxpayers in the country to engage in self-assessment as part of a policy to rid its tax collection of corruption and boost trust among stakeholders. Self-assessment in tax administration is a concept that allows the tax payer to determine and pay taxes due within specified time frames or period to revenue collection agencies. Briefing the media on the new project in Accra yesterday, Mr George Lamptey, Project Manager, Self Assessment Division of GRA, said the concept also meant that the taxpayer, in modern tax administration, was being acknowledged as a partner in the revenue mobilisation effort. He said the policy decision of the GRA was to ensure that all registered taxpayers under the Domestic Tax Revenue Division were to be self assessed by the beginning of 2015. “However, taxpayers assigned to the Spintex Road and Adabraka Medium Taxpayer offices are mandated to self-assess with effect from January 2013 on pilot basis, in addition to Large Taxpayer Office (LTO) who are already into assessment practice,” he said. Mr Lamptey appealed to taxpayers, who would use the self-assessment policy, to make truthful declarations as false declarations would be detected by the GRA and defaulters punished accordingly. He mentioned the simplification of procedures to meet the needs of the various categories of taxpayers, establishment of clients service units and the reviewing and updating of the relevant tax legislation as some of the measures taken by the GRA to implement the self-assessment policy successfully. “Others include sensitisation and tax education programmes, modernisation of business process through ICT and capacity building training programmes for GRA staff,” he added. Mr Lamptey said the new policy would enhance the performance of staff and utilisation of resources, reduce compliance costs for taxpayers and tax administration as well as boost trusts between the taxpayer and the tax administrator. He cited the availability of funds, poor record keeping habits of taxpayers and internal and external stakeholder resistance to change as some of the challenges that could affect the new policy. Mrs Comfort Boohene –Osafo, Commissioner, Domestic Tax Revenue Division of GRA, said the opportunity of self-assessment had been given to persons and organisations who had been gazetted by the Commissioner General and had had their details published in the media. “Taxpayers are expected to fulfill their tax obligations by computing their tax liabilities and submit their self-assessment returns to be verified by the GRA as to whether it is accurate and complete,” she said. She said the GRA would conduct periodic assessment to ascertain the accuracy of information provided by organisations on self-assessment and defaulters would be punished accordingly.