Nations are developed with the taxes paid by citizens, since the taxes are the lifeline for governments to construct roads, build hospitals and schools, among other social infrastructure that are used by citizens.
It is in consequence of this that the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) and other agencies tasked with raking in revenue through taxes and other levies have always found ways to rope more people into the tax net.
Civil societies and think tanks have also pointed out the unfairness in heavily taxing a few people for development projects that benefit everybody, while the working class has also persistently cried over the tax burden imposed on it by successive governments.
It is in the light of these that the Daily Graphic lauds the GRA for reactivating the Tax Identification Numbering (TIN) system and making it mandatory for many Ghanaians to acquire TINs or risk not being able to access essential services.
While it may seem mean on the part of the GRA to prevent people without TINs from accessing services from institutions such as the Passport Office, the banks, the courts, the ports, the Ghana Immigration Service, the Controller and Accountant-General’s Department, the Lands Commission, the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Authority (DVLA), the Registrar-General’s Department and other state agencies, we believe that the new policy will inure to the benefit of the country in terms of revenue generation.
The Daily Graphic posits that with the introduction of the new policy, the GRA only seeks to fulfil its mandate, per the Revenue Administration Act (RAA) 2016 (Act 915), to set up a taxpayer identification numbering system for the purpose of identifying taxpayers and promoting tax compliance.
The requirement for individuals to possess the TIN in order to transact business with public institutions or clear goods from the ports, register land documents with the Lands Commission, obtain tax clearance certificates, open bank accounts, register companies, file cases at the courts, obtain passports or driving licences, register vehicles and bid for contracts from government agencies, among others, exists in other countries. It is as a result of this that those countries are able to give grants and loans to us for development purposes.
However, although the announcement by the GRA sounds very grave because even professionals such as doctors, lawyers and surveyors cannot renew their licences without TINs, we believe that all Ghanaians have to look at the bigger picture of bringing more people into the tax net and thereby generating more revenue for development.
We encourage all Ghanaians to take advantage of the free registration for their 11-digit TINs to help address issues of tax evasion by individuals and companies and instances of taxpayers owning more than one tax certificate.
We also urge the government to make very judicious use of the increased funds that will be generated through the new policy on the TIN because it is one of the key ways to encourage many people to pay their taxes correctly and promptly.
The Daily Graphic further asks all collaborating institutions to ask for the TINs of clients by incorporating it in their requirements.
Above all, 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 and also make more citizens willingly come on board.