The Passport Office and the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Authority (DVLA) have not started the implementation of the new requirement by the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) for applicants for passports and driving licences to provide their tax identification numbers (TINs) before having their documents processed.
A visit to the Passport Office in Accra on Wednesday revealed that passport applicants continued to use the existing forms which did not have any column for the provision of TINs.
Similarly, the DVLA continued to use the current forms for the processing of driving licences.
Per the requirement, individuals without TINs will not be able to access essential services at the Passport Office, the banks, the courts, the ports, the Lands Commission, the DVLA, the Registrar-General’s Department and other state agencies with effect from last Tuesday, April 3, 2018.
The rest are ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs), metropolitan, municipal and district assemblies (MMDAs), the insurance companies and other financial institutions, manufacturing companies and other public institutions that provide essential and social services.
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The TIN is a unique 11-digit number required under the Revenue Administration Act (RAA) 2016 (Act 915) which is expected to enable taxpayers to transact business with ease.
The acting Director of Passports, Mr Amanor Daku Mante, showed a letter from the GRA to the Passport Office asking the office to redesign its forms to make provision for the filling of TINs.
He said the redesigning of the passport forms was the sole responsibility of the Controller and Accountant-General, although the Passport Office liaised with the controller in that respect.
He said the Passport Office continued to process application forms without requesting for any TINS, since the current forms did not have that requirement.
He said he could not tell when the redesigning of the forms would be effected, but indicated that it would take some time.
Passport applicants confirmed to this reporter that they were not requested to provide any TINs on the forms.
Some of the applicants claimed that they did not have any idea of the TINs.
Meanwhile, the DVLA has indicated that it has begun discussions with the GRA to come up with the best method to enforce the Revenue Authority Administration Act 2016 (Act 915), write Makafui Adzo Aklorbortu & Juliet Akyaa Safo.
The Deputy Director in charge of Training, Testing and Licensing at the DVLA, Mr Kafui Semevor, explained that a meeting would be held tomorrow, Friday, April 6, 2018 to discuss the enforcement of and compliance with the act.
According to him, after the conclusion of discussions, the DVLA would come up with a directive to inform the public as to what should be expected.
“We will begin to demand TINs from drivers after we are done with deliberations and measures to ensure compliance,” he said.
In separate interviews on the new directive, some drivers said they did not have any knowledge about the TINs, adding: “We are oblivious of the new directive and would, therefore, need more education on it.”
Others who said they knew about the directive said it was a laudable initiative but urged the GRA to intensively educate the public on it before it was fully implemented.
The situation at the Registrar-General’s Department was different from what prevailed at the Passport Office and the DVLA.
Officers at the Registrar-General’s Department told the Daily Graphic that the department began requesting applicants to provide their TINs from 2011.
They said the department housed a GRA office, where new applicants could process their TINs to aid the registration process.
The business application forms sighted by this reporter had a request for TINs.
At a press conference in Accra last Tuesday, the Commissioner-General of the GRA, Mr Emmanuel Kofi Nti, had said: “No taxpayer can engage in any form of business transaction without a TIN from today. We have had a series of meetings with all the institutions involved to ensure the smooth operation of the policy.”
“It, therefore, means that one cannot transact business with these institutions without a TIN. An individual cannot clear goods from the ports, register land documents with the Lands Commission, obtain a tax clearance certificate, open a bank account, register a company, file a case at the courts, obtain a passport or a driving licence, register a vehicle, bid for contracts from government agencies or conduct business and receive payment for contracts done for government, among others,” he said.
So far, he said, the authority had registered 1,090,338 taxpayers, while all the institutions required by the law to implement the TIN had modified their forms to include a field for the provision of a TIN.