The informal sector constitutes 70 per cent of the business arena but just two per cent of them pay their taxes. Mr Richard Hakeem Quainoo, a Chief Revenue Officer of the Ghana Revenue Authority, who announced this on Wednesday, also stated that only 1.5 million of the expected six million tax payers honoured their responsibilities, with 200,000 being from the informal sector.
Mr Quainoo was addressing a Sensitisation Programme in Accra, for informal business groups on National Tax Policies and ways of Ensuring Compliance. SEND Ghana, a Non-Governmental Organisation, organised the programme. He, therefore, appealed for the cooperation of Ghanaians in getting tax defaulters to settle their outstanding liabilities, increasing voluntary compliance of payments and in the filing of tax returns.
Those in the informal sector, he advised, should also register for their Tax Identification Number because without that, they could not transact business with the Registrar General’s Department, Passport Office, the courts, among other institutions. Mr Quainoo, however, advised law abiding citizens to take advantage of the tax incentives offered by the government under the General Tax Relief Policy.
They include the Reliefs on Education, Marriage, Old Age and Age- Dependant Relative.
The Disability Act, 2006 (ACT 715) also enjoins the Government to give annual tax rebates on the taxable incomes of Persons with disability and exempt taxes on manufacturers of technical aides or appliances for them.
The Chief Revenue Officer said the Government had given temporary concessions to individuals who would venture into agriculture to encourage the youth into it and to provide job opportunities.
Individuals engaged in family tree crops get a 10 year-tax holiday, just as cattle rearers, while those in cash crops get five years. Mrs Rachel Gyabaah, Programmes Officer of SEND Ghana, said the engagement was to increase awareness among Ghanaians on tax issues and enhance their appreciation of the importance of taxes to national development.
Some of the participants interviewed by the Ghana News Agency expressed willingness to pay their taxes, but urged the authorities to use the monies for national development projects.
“We pay tax every day to the Accra Metropolitan Assembly but we don’t see any development, and we are not sure if the money is channelled to the appropriate quarters or it goes into people’s pockets”.
Some of the participants suggested to the Government to focus more on indirect taxes rather than the direct ones to get more people into the tax net.