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GRA to prosecute businesses that fail to issue VAT invoices

BY: Maxwell Akalaare Adombila
Edward Appenteng Gyambrah, Commissioner, GRA

BUSINESSES that do not issue value added tax (VAT) invoices to customers will be arrested and prosecuted by officials of the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA), effective September 1, 2022.

Equally, customers who do not demand and take the invoices will face similar treatment.

The decision follows the roll-out of a special exercise by the GRA to ensure that businesses and customers comply fully with the VAT Act, 2013 (Act 870) by charging, issuing and accounting for VAT appropriately.

The compliance and enforcement exercise will involve the invigilation of shops, mystery purchases and swoops across the country by GRA officials to ensure maximum compliance to help increase revenue mobilisation.

Interview

The Commissioner of the Domestic Tax Revenue Division (DTRD) of the GRA, Edward Appenteng Gyambrah, who gave the notice in an interview, said the exercise would run from September 1 to December 31, this year.

He told the Daily Graphic last Friday that the exercise followed revelations that some businesses were either not issuing VAT invoices or misreporting, also known as ëundercardingí the tax, to avoid paying the appropriate revenue to the state.

According to Mr Gyambrah, intelligence available to the authority also showed that most consumers did not bother to demand and take VAT invoices, making it easier for sellers to undercut the state.

ìIndeed, some sellers ask buyers if they will take invoices, and when the latter say no, the traders sell without the invoice value,î he said.

The commissioner said such a practice was in clear contravention of sections 58 and 59 of the VAT Act, which mandate sellers to issue invoices and for consumers to receive same.

He said revenue from VAT was low, and that the country ís collections trailed those of its peers in the subregion.

He said while VAT collections in Nigeria, Togo, Cote díIvoire, South Africa, among others, averaged above 30 per cent of their total revenue, Ghanaís VAT revenue was around 20 per cent of its total collections.

Expectations

The commissioner expressed optimism in the successful implementation of the exercise for increased compliance and revenue.

He said the authority was working to ensure that it achieved its revenue target of GH¢80.3 billion this year.

Mr Gyambrah, therefore, appealed to the public to cooperate with the authority during the exercise to achieve the ultimate objective.

Number crunch: GH¢80.3 billion

The Ghana Revenue Authority says it is working towards achieving its revenue target of GH¢80.3 billion this year.