Tax evasion: Lawyers understate profit to conceal true incomes - AG

BY: Zadok Kwame Gyesi
Attorney General, Mr Godfred Yeboah Dame
Attorney General, Mr Godfred Yeboah Dame

The Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Mr Godfred Yeboah Dame, has urged lawyers in Ghana to honour their tax obligations.

According to him, many lawyers in the country employ various tactics to evade taxes, a situation he said is not only criminal but a violation of the professional rules regarding the law profession.

Speaking on Monday, September 13 at this year’s Ghana Bar Association’s Annual General Conference which held in the Upper East regional capital, Bolgatanga, the minister said it is sad that some lawyers in the country evade taxes when it remains a major pillar in revenue mobilisation for national development.

“Sad to say, many lawyers are caught in the phenomena of tax evasion,” he disclosed, pointing out that some lawyers in the scheme to evade taxes understate their profit or conceal their true incomes.

The conference is on the theme: “Ensuring an increase in revenue mobilization through taxation for the purpose of accelerated national development The role of the lawyer.”

Mr Odame said the legal profession’s professional code of conduct and etiquettes’ rules require lawyers to demonstrate high ethical behaviour and that lawyers evading taxes defeat that purpose.

For him, the GBA should make tax obligations of lawyers as a requirement in the publication of its members in good standing.

He, however, said the failure of lawyers in the country to discharge their full tax obligation “is not entirely their fault” due to the absence of effective tax systems by the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) to ensure that all tax payers are brought into the tax net.

He has, therefore, urged GRA to develop effective systems to ensure that all those who are to pay taxes do so.

Mr Odame also encouraged lawyers to enhance their knowledge on tax laws and amendments, saying that lawyers ought to have sufficient knowledge on tax laws, a statutory regulations as well as amendment to the various tax laws.