In a move to contribute its quota to the ease of doing business in the country, the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) has introduced an integrated system that will help individuals and businesses file their tax returns and also pay their taxes, among other things, digitally.
Christened Integrated Tax Application and Preparation System (iTAPS), the platform, which will officially go live from tomorrow, Friday, forms part of the many measures by the authority to ensure efficiency in the filing and payment of taxes.
It is also meant to help reduce the cost of operations and increase the level of tax compliance by individuals and organisations.
The iTAPS is an e-service platform that will enable taxpayers to prepare, apply and receive annual tax returns, tax clearance certificate and verifications, as well as VAT-withholding tax among other services rendered by the GRA.
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The Commissioner General of the authority, Mr Kofi Nti, who announced this at a special media event last Wednesday, said the system formed part of the GRA’s mandate to sensitise the general public to the importance of the payment of taxes as a civic responsibility and one of the key ways for the government to generate money internally to accelerate the pace of development in the country.
“April is set aside for the filing of taxes, therefore, we want to focus the discussion on the importance of filing returns and payment of taxes. We also want to use this opportunity to launch a project (software) known as iTAPS,” he said.
He also said the month of April had been earmarked for the filing of taxes and, thus, the Tax and Good Governance Week, scheduled to take place between April 5 and April 12, would come off with special focus on the new system.
A series of activities outlined to mark the second edition of the Tax and Good Governance Week included tax clinics, radio and television discussions, as well as social media interactions.
Mr Nti said the iTAPS was a tax compliance tool which had the tendency of raking in more money for the country and improving the country’s tax system to aid national development.
He, therefore, admonished the media to continue cooperating with the GRA by rehashing the tax collector’s mandate to make tax systems efficient.
“We see you as partners in progress.
We want you to share this message to the general public that GRA has gone Hi-Tech,” he said.
An iTAPS team demonstrated the usage of the software for various GRA services.
The software requires a log-in account with tax identification number (TIN), any recognised national identification card and a password as prerequisites to sign up to the platform.
The iTAPS project was instituted to ensure a convenient and less sophisticated medium of operations for taxpayers.
The digital project is to facilitate business transactions, cost of compliance and quality of tax returns.
The GRA is also aiming at inching up on the Tax Administration Diagnostic Tools (TADAT) ranking with the iTAPS software.
The iTAPS will also serve as a record-keeping hub for business transactions of individuals and organisations.
On the issue of security, a representative of the iTAPS team, Mr George Lutterodt, gave an assurance that the system had been ISO certified and, therefore, met all the security standards to protect the data of applicants and also prevent all forms of cyber threats.
“The platform, which is currently operating on a URL website, is secured by an HTTP certification.
There are international standards that we are complying with to ensure full security.
Therefore, we have no doubt about the security of users on the platform,” he said.
Mr Lutterodt added that the iTAPS platform made provision for payments through the mobile financial services (Mobile Money) - another convenient platform, among others.
Mr Lutterodt said after the first phase of the project was successfully launched, the team would roll out about 10 modules of the iTAPS project on mobile applications.
The various modules will be made operational on Android and iOS devices to ensure easy accessibility.
Alternatively, a USSD code will be generated to provide comfort for a section of the general public who cannot have access to the mobile application or URL website.