The Executive Director of the Institute of Fiscal Studies (IFS), Professor Newman Kusi, has called for the intensification of education on the tax identification number (TIN) to encourage voluntary compliance among the citizenry.
He explained that the low patronage of the new TIN policy was partly as a result of the lack of education on the part of the implementing agency, the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA).
“In this regard, we believe that there is the need for extensive education on the new TIN policy to make more Ghanaians understand the benefits that will accrue to the country if everyone complies,” Prof. Kusi told the Daily Graphic at a tax dialogue organised by Oxfam on Thursday, October 25, in Accra.
To encourage voluntary compliance, he also asked all collaborating institutions to demand for the TINs of clients by incorporating it in their requirements.
Asking Ghanaians to take advantage of the free registration for their 11-digit TIN numbers, he said the TIN policy was to help address issues of tax evasion by individuals and companies and instances of taxpayers owning more than one tax certificate.
Beyond education on the TIN, he stated that to increase voluntary compliance with the filing of tax returns and paying taxes due, there was a need for the authorities to provide a level-playing field for all to comply.
According to him, that could be done through extension of good tax services to taxpayers, while the GRA took steps to strengthen the audit and enforcement of the process.
“Although such services exist in the taxation system, there is a considerable scope for improvement,” he said.
He also urged the government to make judicious use of the increased funds that would be generated through the new policy on the TIN because it was one of the key ways to encourage many people to pay their taxes correctly and promptly.
The Fiscal Policy Specialist at Oxfam Ghana, Dr Alex Ampaabeng, said Oxfam had organised a number of such events purposely for businesses to share their challenges with regard to paying their taxes.
The businesses sharing their challenges, he said, would help the tax collection agencies turn it into opportunities in order for them to comply voluntarily.
“The dialogue is being organised alongside an active engagement with the relevant authorities to ensure that there is an efficient tax system where all key stakeholders are able to perform their respective roles,” he said.
Dr Ampaabeng urged Ghanaians to cultivate the habit of paying taxes regularly, no matter how small, to help develop the country.
Regular payment of taxes by citizens, he said, was the only way they could contribute their quota to the government’s vision of developing the country ‘Beyond Aid’.
Some of the businesses that spoke to the Daily Graphic at the event on condition of anonymity stated that bureaucracies associated with the country’s tax system were affecting their operations negatively.
For this reason, they made an appeal to the government to streamline the tax system to encourage voluntary compliance.