16
Sun, Dec

STATESMAN OPINION: CONVINCING THE CITIZENRY TO PAY TAX

Business & Economy

One of the major issues that have occupied the media and minds of members of the general public in the last 72 hours, particularly those doing business in the formal and informal sectors, has to do with the registration for Taxpayer Identification Numbers.

One of the major issues that have occupied the media and minds of members of the general public in the last 72 hours, particularly those doing business in the formal and informal sectors, has to do with the registration for Taxpayer Identification Numbers.

 

According to the Ghana Revenue Authority, it is putting in place systems that would not only facilitate doing credible business in Ghana, but also deter unscrupulous people from doing business with decent people and institutions or any member of the general public, for that matter.

One such initiative is the use of TIN, without which anybody doing business may be incapable of engaging relevant institutions, as well as local government authorities which have jurisdiction over businesses in the localities.

The Ghana Revenue Authority has even served notice that it has begun enforcing a 'No-Taxpayer- Identification Number, No Business Transaction' policy effective April 1, 2018.

Under the policy, persons without the TIN would not be allowed to transact any business. This is certainly a bold measure to ensure that all eligible persons are fulfilling their tax obligations to the state. Additionally, it is intended at broadening the tax net and also enable the GRA monitor all transactions made by taxpayers.

In fact, the Revenue Administration Act, 2016 (Act 915) gives the legal backing that all taxpayers and persons who transact official business with government and private organizations are required to have TIN.

All over the world, paying taxes is a civic and patriotic duty, aimed at providing the amenities, including health facilities, road networks, markets, among others that we need to live fulfilled lives. Without supporting government with revenue, it will be difficult to provide all these facilities for the citizens.

With almost 85% of our economy in the hands of informal economy operators, including landlords who are difficult to access, the TIN idea should make a lot of sense to us as we struggle to run government programmes and social interventions.

Programmes such as the NHIS, Free SHS, Planting for Food and Jobs, as well as One District, One Factory and One Village, One Dam initiatives, which are targeted at improving the lives of our people, particularly the youth and vulnerable women in our countryside, require the support of all to ensure their success and sustenance. We can support them by meeting our tax obligations to the state.

While we encourage the citizenry to comply and be part of this noble programme for our collective benefit and that of our next generation, we will also admonish those in charge of the national purse to ensure judicious use of the taxes collected.

When the people realize they are benefitting from the taxes they pay, they are always encouraged to meet that civic responsibility.

It is always difficult to collect tax in our part of the world, mainly because the people consider it as parting away with money to satisfy the greed of those in government. Let’s convince them that is no longer the reality, and they will be carried alone.


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