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Every Ghanaian To Soon File Taxes Yearly – Bawumia   
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Vice-President Dr Mahamudu Bawumia says he is hopeful that the resent digital reforms being undertaken in the country will enhance revenue mobilisation as government targets a system to have everyone file taxes yearly.

“Our goal in Ghana, once all of these (digital reforms) are completed, is to be able to ensure that we set a goal where everyone will have to file their taxes by a certain day each year. You can, therefore, be able to assess, given your income, how much you are supposed to pay to the state. This is where we are going, and we hope that with that type of leveraging of technology, we will be able to rope in a lot more tax payers, than in currently the case.

“We want to have a situation where everyone is filing their taxes. Even if your tax assessment says you will not pay a pesewa to the tax authorities we still want you to file. That alone is very good information,” Dr Bawumia said on Friday, November 10 during a speech at the closing ceremony of the 38th CATA Annual Technical Conference.

He continued: “… I believe we have reached a stage in our development where we must adopt appropriate, current and improved technology to make tax administration convenient for taxpayers. In Ghana for example, we have a population of 27 million, but tax payers only amount to 1.2 million. We are dealing with a very large informal economy, and that means the burden of taxation falls on a very small number of people.

“We have been thinking about ways to leverage technology to broaden this tax base so that the burden of taxation will be lowered and the collection of taxes will be enhanced. This is why we are engaged in a number of policies this year. We have launched a digital national ID, because you will have to identify all your tax payers, to be able to collect. It is a digital ID card, biometrically based both fingerprint and iris, which we want to issue to the whole population, both foreigners and citizens.

“We have also launched a digital address system; you have to know where everybody lives if you are going to be able collect your revenues. So in Ghana today we have 16.1 billion addresses. Every 5 *5 square meter of land is appropriately identified with post code, district, region and so on.

“We have also moved on to work on the implementation of an interoperable payment system between the mobile companies and the banks. If you are a revenue authority, you must be able to have an efficient way of people paying their taxes. Some people may never step in a bank the whole of their lives; they may just have their mobile phones. But we have to provide the convenient technology to allow them to pay their taxes. And this is where the Interoperability comes in.

“As far as the technical work is concerned, work is completed on an Interoperable payment system for Ghana. Now we have to go through a number of issues including the governance framework and others. But it will be launched by the end of this year or early next year. This therefore will allow for financial inclusion and allow a lot of people in both the rural and urban areas to be able to pay their taxes.

“So once you are able to uniquely identify everyone with the help of technology; you are able to uniquely identify where everyone is, in terms of addresses whether businesses or residence; once you are able to provide a convenient means of payment of taxes and so on for everyone, you have been really been able to leverage technology to be able to improve revenue collections,” he explained.

Source: classfmonline.com

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