The Ghana Revenue Authority has touted the successes of its ongoing VAT invigilation exercise that it has embarked on.
The exercise which began in the last quarter of 2022, is a demonstration of one of the many tools to check tax compliance and enforce tax responsibilities.
One may spot a GRA official at a couple of big supermarkets verifying the books of these commercial operators.
According to a Chief Revenue Officer, Joseph Ajeikwei Annan, through the exercise, GRA has recovered a lot of revenue owed to the state through Value Added Tax, citing cases of millions of cedis recovered from a single tax payer under one month.
Speaking with Kennedy Mornah on the GPHA powered Eye on Port programme on Accra based Metro TV, Mr. Annan who is also the Area Manager at the Accra Central Enforcement Unit of the GRA detailed some of the gains of the exercise.
“One taxpayer whose VAT declaration for September 2022, ahead of GRA’s intervention was 33,738.63 cedis. When the invoice invigilation was done on this tax payer the invoice declaration shot up to 197,457.11 cedis for a month,” he revealed.
“We have another tax payer who happens to be manufacturer who declared an average of 3 million a month and it shot to 8 million in a month, after our intervention,” he added.
He said the exercise was an intervention by management and board of the Revenue Authority to address the dip in revenue collection as far as VAT is concerned.
Mr. Annan explained that hitherto taxpayers were notorious for VAT evasion schemes through various unscrupulous methods.
“There are circumstances where tax payers put a card between the first page of our invoice book so that whatever is written on the first sheet does not show on the other sheet. So after they have issued the actual amount to the client, they take their time to write whatever figure they will like to show to us,” he cited.
The Area Manager at the Accra Central Enforcement Unit of the GRA said since the invoice invigilation exercise, the presence of tax officials at shops make it near impossible to engage in such illegalities.
However, the Chief Revenue Officer, admitted that the Authority is undermanned to cover the hundreds of enterprises in this exercise, explaining that efforts are being made to find innovative ways to capture all taxpayers.
Nonetheless the GRA official said it will continue to use other methods such as mystery shopping and test purchasing to spot defaulters of tax laws.
He argued that the cries by some business persons that VAT invigilation is crippling business is hard to comprehend, as VAT does not form part of the profit margin of taxpayers.
He disagreed because technically “it’s the end-consumer who pays VAT and not the provider of services.”
Mr. Annan disclosed that management and taxpayers are engaging to arrive at some solution for defaulters for their inappropriate actions.
He charged all taxpayers who attempt to evade the payment of VAT proceeds to the GRA, to discontinue the act else, they will face the full rigors of the law.