17
Mon, Dec

GRA CLAMPS DOWN ON LUXURY HOTELS

Business & Economy

The excise unit of the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) has moved into robust action again with its enforcement of the excise tax stamp, this time with a focus on the hospitality industry.

The excise unit of the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) has moved into robust action again with its enforcement of the excise tax stamp, this time with a focus on the hospitality industry.

The GRA team yesterday seized bottles of liquor which had no tax stamp affixed to them at the Kempinski Gold Coast Hotel, Mövenpick Ambassador Hotel and Accra City Hotel.

It emerged during the exercise that the majority of products at the bar and in the storerooms of the three hotels had no tax stamps.

All the bottles without tax stamps were removed. Afterwards, the team stormed the stores departments of all three hotels and found cartons of liquor without the stamps. These were also seized.

Results

Speaking to the media after the operation, the chief revenue officer at GRA, Kwabena Appau Anto, reaffirmed the Authority’s position that the confiscated goods would not be returned to the hotels. He added that the hotels would be charged a 300 per cent penalty. “If we come back to find any products without the stamps, probably they may be prosecuted,” Mr Anto said.

Touching on previous exercises carried out by the team, he said the necessary duties and taxes for the confiscated beverages had been paid, and the goods reclaimed by the defaulters.

“Since we started this programme, now a lot of the domestic products have the tax stamp affixed on them. The markets are beginning to reject products without the stamp and so those who were operating underground in terms of smuggling and not paying the stamp are running to us for a stamp,” he said.

Mr Anto insisted that imported goods must have the stamp affixed. “For imported products they have no excuse not to fix the tax stamp as at this point,” he said.

The stamp

The Excise Tax Stamp Act 2013 (Act 873) was passed by Parliament in December 2013. The aim of the legislation is to help the GRA enforce the excise tax stamp policy on specific, excisable goods before they are delivered ex-factory, cleared from any port or presented for sale at any commercial level in Ghana.

The act subsequently received presidential assent in January 2014; the excise duty is not a new tax. It rather requires excise tax stamps with traceable and security-enhanced features on specified, excisable commodities, in order to serve as preliminary evidence of payment of the required duties and taxes and to provide an audit trail for tracing importers and manufacturers of counterfeited goods.

Enforcement of the act began at the ports on January 1 this year and thereafter at points of sale on March 1. A special task force commenced the first phase of an enforcement exercise in Accra, Kumasi and Takoradi.

Mr Anto, who leads the task force, has said that all goods seized will be taken to the GRA’s central office. Taxes on them will be calculated, and the requisite penalties levied.

Under the law, defaulters face imposition of a penalty of 300 per cent of duties and taxes involved.

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