The Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) is gearing up to raise taxes from professional service activities in a bid to meet its tax targets.
Government has set a tax revenue target of GHc58.9 billion in the 2019 budget, which is about 25.9 percent higher than the GHc46.8 billion targeted in the 2018 budget.
Domestic revenue estimated at GHc57.8 billion is expected to be raised from domestic sources and sub units.
To this end, Commissioner-General of the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA), Mr. Emmanuel Kofi Nti, has announced that lawyers, doctors, engineers and other professionals will soon have to issue tax receipts for services rendered and charged for. The move the Authority believes will rope in those making commercial gain but not paying what is due to the state. Hitherto, most professionals have been able to avoid being assessed and duly taxed on the income they receive for the services they render, especially on services rendered to micro-enterprises, households and individuals who do not maintain formal accounts.
However details have not yet been released as to how the Authority intends to track the service contracts executed by professionals on a personal basis, and thus their income tax obligations.
In 2018, the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) failed to meet its overall target of raising GHc46.8 billion. As at the end of August it had managed to mobilise a total of GHc22.7 billion representing a revenue shortfall of about GHc1.8 billion below its target for the first eight months of the year.
The Authority however saw an improvement in its custom collection in the last three months of the year and thanks to better targeting, covered more grounds. However provisional estimates suggest it fell about 5 percent short of its full year target.
Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta points out that enforcing tax compliance on defaulters and evaders would help the government meet its social and developmental obligations.
The Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) this time around is set to work with the Auditor General and the Special Prosecutor to enforce compliance.
In 2017, the authority collected GH32.4bn as against a target of about GHc34bn, representing 97 percent.
Commissioner-General Nti has meanwhile submitted at a dinner held in honour of 190 retiring staff that 2018 was a mixed year where the Authority had some gains and some downs.
â€œWe had to come up a mechanism to resolve the issues in our fold which saw a three percent growth in custom revenue. We also implemented a strict code of ethics for staff and management. Erring staff were interdicted, others were demoted in rank while some suffered suspension with others are in line to be prosecuted for violations,â€ Mr. Nti revealed.
He urged management members to lead exemplary lives to be above reproach. The retirees took home TV sets, citations and African print cloth.