Western Region Public Relations Officer of the Ghana Revenue Authority GRA Charles Forson has indicated shop owners whose shops were locked up at the Central Business District of Takoradi for defaulting on their tax obligations have settled their debts.
According to him almost all the affected shop owners have either paid in full or have made special arrangements with the office and are settling their debts.
“Almost every single person, whose shop was locked up, has reported to our office. Of course, anybody who comes to the shop to find it locked will definitely want to find out who did that. I can confirm that almost every single whose shop was locked, has reported to our office. Most of them have paid in full. Those who could not pay in full were made to pay half or more and made to sign an agreement that the rest will be paid in installments. The rule is, the moment you make payment, we send somebody to go with you to open the shop.”
More than 38 shop owners had their shops at the Central Business District of Takoradi locked for failing to pay their taxes last week.
Mr. Forson explained GRA had to take the action after several calls on the shop owners to pay failed.
During the exercise it was discovered that some of the affected were owning for more than three years.
To prevent a repeat of this long years of default, Mr. Forson assured the office will move in once a shop owner defaults for a quarter.
“We just started the third quarter of the year. They are supposed to pay quarterly; for instance when we give you assessment for the year, you are supposed to divide it into four quarters. So if you are supposed to pay thousand cedis as tax for the year, every quarter, let’s say from January to March, you pay two hundred and fifty cedis and so forth”.
“So you are supposed to spread it throughout the year. So if you owe for the second quarter, you need to hurriedly pay before the third quarter and this time. We are leaving no stone unturned if you owe for the previous quarter, we will not wait for a year, but rather be on your neck once the quarter is past”.
He said as the office looks at ways to reduce the incident of tax default it will continue educating businesses on the need to honor their tax obligations.
“Every single year we carry out a massive education exercise. The objective behind this education is to enhance the understanding of the general tax paying public as well as all potential tax payers.
But Mr. Forson insisted that, “the fact that we are educating them does not mean they will not face the consequences of the law if they fall foul. The tax law has provided what we call penalty and other creative measures that have been laid down to be applied to all star defaulters”.
“This week [July 4] we will be locking shops maybe along the Liberation Road from the Edzi Roundabout”, he hinted.