GRA Shuts Down Two Companies

The axe of the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) distress action has fallen on two companies—Glade Digital Limited and Black Gold Limited which have not fulfilled their tax obligations. While Black Gold is indebted to the tune of GH˘12,949.69 since June 2010, Glade Digital owes GH˘ 7,251.74 in unpaid taxes since December 2010. Officials of three other companies - Best Time Press, Quickfit Services Limited and Rockfield Limited, issued out cheques just in time to defray part of their debts and prevent their business from being shut down for not fulfilling their tax obligations. The distress action is In line with Section 34 (3) of the VAT Act 546 of 1998, which empowers the GRA to resort to the last option under the law to retrieve debts owed the state. According to the GRA, the companies involved had been reminded on several occasions to pay their taxes but had failed to do so. Glade Digital, for instance, had on six occasions issued cheques that bounced at the bank. The first port of call was the Best Time Press where the managing director claimed he was unable to pay his taxes because of his ill health but as soon as officials of the GRA, led by a Chief Revenue Officer, Mr Samuel Bentil, stated their mission, he issued a cheque to pay GH˘17,000 out of the GH˘22,806.76 the company had been owing since June 2011 and a post-dated cheque to cover the remaining amount. At Quickfit, it took the large padlocks and chains of the GRA officials to convince the company’s officials that the exercise was no joke. The company issued a cheque to cover the over GH˘ 5,000 debt it owed. The story was no different at Rockfield where the company issued a cheque to cover half of its GH˘13, 415 debt, with the remaining to be paid by February 8, 2012. However at Glade Digital and Black Gold the workers were reluctant to receive the warrant signed by the Commissioner of the GRA, Mr George Blankson, which permitted the team to recover the debt or confiscate the property belonging to the debtors including facilities used in Ghana in the manufacture, production, sale or distribution of any taxable supplies found in the premises or any land owned by or in possession of the tax evaders. Addressing the media, Mr Bentil said the two companies had up to 14 days to offset their debts or risk having their assets auctioned to clear them. “We are partners in development but if we are pushed, we’ll do everything to recover the debts,” he said. He hinted that close to 100 companies faced similar action if they failed to pay their taxes. To companies which have reneged on their tax responsibilities, he said: “They should all pay their taxes. If they refuse, this is the action we will be taking against them.” A red tape was used to seal the entrances of the affected companies. According to the GRA, it is an offence for any worker or management to make any unauthorised entry when the debts had not been settled.