The difficulties, delays and frustrations associated with the acquisition of a Tax Clearance Certificate and the filing of tax returns will soon be a thing of the past, the Vice President, Dr Mahamudu Bawumia, has assured Ghanaians, especially the business community.
This follows the completion of work by the Ghana Revenue Authority to create online Platforms to automate the process of filing taxes and obtaining a Tax Clearance Certificate, thereby eliminating the many challenges associated with the current manual process of issuance.
Addressing participants at the 10th Annual International Tax Conference organized by the Chartered Institute of Taxation, Ghana in Accra, Dr Bawumia said the current Tax Certificate issuance regime, operating in accordance with the Revenue Administration Act, needed some fine-tuning, and the Ghana Revenue Authority had undertaken the necessary works to make that happen.
“For the purpose of promoting tax compliance, the Commissioner-General has maintained a system of Tax Clearance Certificates (TCC) in accordance with Sections 10 & 11 of the Revenue Administration Act. This process of obtaining the clearance certificate has been done manually with the issuance of a handwritten certificates over the years. It has been characterized with delays in the issuance by GRA, challenges in verifying genuine TCCs by recipients, the use of Fake TCCs, alleged malpractices of some Tax Officials among others.
“It is from this background that I directed the leadership of the GRA to automate the process of obtaining Tax Clearance Certificates and I am glad to announce to you that this process has been completed and will go live by October,” the Vice President disclosed.
Officials of the GRA explained that to access the service, one would have to log into the taxpayer portal and apply for the TCC online in accordance with Section 14 of the Revenue Administration Act from the new feature that has been made available on the Platforms.
The system does the background check to ensure there are no outstanding tax returns and payments and then issues to successful applicants an Electronic Tax Clearance Certificate automatically.
“The electronic copy Tax Clearance Certificate is also sent to the requestee- third Party who has demanded for the Certificate. Unsuccessful applicants are then served with reasons for their denial of the automatic eTCC.
“From the foregoing it is evident the issue of fake TCC will be a thing of the past, delays would be eliminated, and there would be enhanced transparency through the automatic verification and electronic issuance of the TCC to the Taxpayer and the requesting institution,” the Vice President added.
Filing of taxes
The GRA’s Domestic Tax Revenue Division has also introduced a self-service portal, Ghana Taxpayers’ App, available on Google and Apple Play store, as well as on www.taxpayersportal.com.
The use of the portals enables the taxpayer to view balances on their ledgers (tax position at any time), get reminders on due dates for payments of tax liabilities, file all tax returns and get credits with tax credit when one suffers withholding tax.
This would also afford employees the chance to monitor the correctness of their income taxes deducted and paid by their employers.
“As a taxpayer, you no longer need to join long queues in tax offices to pay taxes, simply pay on the Ghana.gov payment platform or any of the commercial banks of your choice. All you require to sign up is the Ghana card number as citizens or non-citizens or TIN for entities to comply with your tax obligations online,” Dr Bawumia explained.
The Authority will also have a USSD code that allows every Ghanaian to check on their tax compliance status by dialing *899*42#.
“All Ghanaians and all entities are therefore encouraged to check their tax compliance status. If they are not compliant, they can immediately file their tax returns and settle any outstanding on their mobile phone.”
Accessing Public Services
“These automations of repetitive task are aimed at reducing the discretionary use of powers and its attendant alleged corruption by public officials while promoting voluntary compliance and a friendly taxpaying environment,” he emphasized.
“I must add that given that we have now made it very easy for anyone to file and pay their taxes, from next year many public services will require the presentation of tax clearance certificates before the services are rendered. This will enhance compliance and therefore domestic revenue mobilization,” the Vice President disclosed.