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Govít To Freeze Tax Increases   
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The Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning (MFEP) has assured Ghanaians that it may not increase taxes for Ghanaians, Dr. Edward Larbi Siaw -Tax Policy Advisor of the Ministry has disclosed.

According to the Ministry, it is rather considering to reduce in percentage terms aspects of the taxes, which Ghanaians pay to government by 2017.

Dr. Larbi Siaw explained that the move was to capture all eligible taxpayers onto the tax scheme, which will go a long way to improve and widen the tax net. The Tax Policy Advisor continued that the country would benefit from this initiative, saying an amount of GH¢20.8 billion was generated from Domestic Tax Revenue last year, which was more than GH¢2.8 billion generated from petroleum within the same period.

Dr. Larbi Siaw made the assertion when he represented Mr. Seth Terpker, Finance Minister, at Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) 2015 Stakeholders’ awards at the Banquet hall, State House, in Accra last Friday. The GRA awarded over 10 companies and individuals who voluntarily honoured their tax obligations and contributed in diverse ways to support the tax collection body.

Godfred Boakye was awarded the Best Self Employed Taxpayer-Small Taxpayer Office (STO), whereas the R&E Group Limited, was honoured as the Overall Best Taxpayer -(MTO). The Coconut Grove Beach & Conference Limited got the Overall Best Taxpayer (MTO) and Izone was the Most Improved Taxpayer, at the Large Tax Office (LTO).

Others who also received awards in the Overall Best Taxpayer and Most Improved Taxpayer categories (Customs Division) include; Mechelletti -East Legon Branch and Ghana Commercial Bank (GCB), Goldfields Ghana Limited, British American Tobacco, Scancom Limited (MTN), Olam Ghana Limited, Royalbow Company Limited and Nestle Ghana limited.

The chief of Agotime, Nene Nuer Keteku III, Ghana News Agency, MFEP, 37 Military Hospital and GCB received Honorary Awards. Dr. Larbi Siaw congratulated the awardees for their passion to pay their taxes, assuring “we cannot make taxpaying nicer, but at least it can be made to be paid easier.”

The MEFP policy Advisor also kicked against the assumption that Ghana has the highest tax regime on the continent, comparing the country’s corporate tax of 25% and VAT of 1.5% to that of Nigeria, which is 30% (corporate tax) and 5% (VAT), La Cote d’Ivoire, 25% (corporate tax) and 18% (VAT), Togo, 29% (corporate tax) and 18% (VAT) among others.

The Commissioner-General of GRA, Mr. George Blankson thanked the awardees for recognizing the need to meet their tax obligations. He was also grateful to the fact that the GRA was able to exceed its target by 2.9% in 2015 even though the year had challenges such as electricity crisis among others.

In order to ensure voluntary compliance or reduce difficulties taxpayers face, he indicated that GRA has adopted modernized systems like new tax platform for processing tax returns and introduction of new laws that are more tax friendly, saying: “we have simplified our processes and our engagement with taxpayers.”
Source: The Chronicle

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