The Tax Identification Number (TIN), a unique 11-digit identification number issued to taxpayers for official transactions, made the headlines last year when the government intensified education on it to broaden the tax net.
Although introduced in 2014 when the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) made it a must for all taxpayers before transacting business at the various ports, it was not until early 2018 that extensive sensitisation was carried out by the GRA to ensure that more Ghanaians obtained TINs.
The Daily Graphic recalls that the then Minister of Finance, Mr Seth Terkper, announced in 2014 that to ensure that the status of persons on the taxpayer register was accurate, they would be required to validate their data every two years.
Other reasons TIN has now become very necessary for every productive Ghanaian are that it is needed to open a bank account, obtain payments for jobs/contracts done for the government, file a case at the courts, as well as obtain a passport.
Without the TIN, a person cannot also obtain a driving licence or register a vehicle at the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Authority (DVLA), bid for contracts from government agencies, conduct business with ministries, departments and agencies and metropolitan, municipal and district assemblies, apply for government loans and foreign exchange, among many others.
A TIN is also required for official transactions with public institutions such as the Domestic Tax Revenue Division of the GRA, the Customs Division of the GRA, the Controller and Accountant-General’s Department or any public institution which the Minister of Finance may, by legislative instrument, prescribe.
Whereas the mandatory TIN serves as an identification PIN for each individual’s contribution to tax in Ghana, the Daily Graphic believes that it is in the best interest of all Ghanaians earning taxable income to register, as it is aimed at broadening the country's revenue, while increasing development projects which will, in the long run, help the country in its financial growth.
It is worthy to note that TIN has become a prerequisite for many financial and trade engagements globally, as having it boosts trust between parties, since it makes for easy identification and authentication.
What is interesting is that the application for a TIN is currently free of charge at every GRA office and it takes only an average of 24 to 48 hours to obtain it.
Furthermore, TIN issuance has been boosted by the nationwide roll out of GRA’s new computerised tax system - tripsTM - which is managed by GCNet on behalf of the government of Ghana and can be accessed in 59 offices across nine regions of Ghana.
An added benefit is that the GRA has an improved electronic system for obtaining a TIN, which makes it possible for a person to be identified electronically anywhere around Ghana and, therefore, prevents multiple taxation levied on individuals or companies.
The Daily Graphic believes that tripsTM has largely contributed to increasing the number of people who now have TINs to 1.9 million.
We are, however, of the view that the figure is still low, considering the number of Ghanaians earning taxable income, and urge all to take advantage of the current GRA provisions to register for their 11-digit TINs.