GRA storm Kempinski and Movenpick to seize products without tax stamps

BY: Emelia Ennin Abbey
GRA officials inspecting bottles at the bar of Kempinski Gold Coast
GRA officials inspecting bottles at the bar of Kempinski Gold Coast

The Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) on Wednesday morning stormed Kempinski Gold Coast Hotel and Movenpick Ambassador Hotel in Accra to seize cartons of bottled spirits and wines which have no tax stamps affixed on them.

During an inspection exercise by the GRA, it was realised majority of the products at the bar and storeroom of the hotels had no tax stamps.

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GRA has warned retailers, shop owners and Ghanaians to stop buying and displaying items that have no tax stamps on them.

The Excise Tax Stamp Act, 2013 (ACT 873) was passed by Parliament in December 2013 with the aim of helping the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) enforce the Excise Tax Stamp policy on specific excisable goods before they are delivered ex-factory, cleared from any port or presented for sale at any commercial level in Ghana.

The ACT subsequently received presidential assent in January 2014. The Excise Tax Stamp Act is definitely not an introduction of a new tax. It rather requires that Excise Tax Stamps with traceable and security-enhanced features on specified excisable commodities in order to serve as preliminary evidence of the payment of the required duties and taxes and to provide an audit trail for tracing importers and manufacturers of counterfeited goods.


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Operation

Members of the GRA task force set up to enforce the Tax stamp as part of a special exercise visited the two luxury hotels unannounced and found liquor without the excise tax stamp on them displayed on shelves in the bar.

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All the bottles without tax stamps were removed after which the team stormed the stores departments of the hotel and found cartons of the liquor which were also seized.

The team also found some bottled soft drinks which did not have the Tax stamps on them.

The excise tax stamps are specially designed digital stamps with security features which are affixed on specified excisable goods, whether locally manufactured or imported.

Goods affected by the law include cigarettes and other tobacco products, alcoholic beverages, whether canned or contained in kegs, non-alcoholic carbonated beverages, whether bottled, canned or packaged in any other form, and bottled water.

The enforcement of the act started at the ports on January 1, 2018 and the points of sale on March 1, 2018, with a special task force commencing the first phase of an enforcement exercise in Accra, Kumasi and Takoradi.

The leader of the tax force, Mr Kwabena Apau Anto has indicated that all the detained goods would be taken to the GRA office where the taxes on them would be calculated, after which penalties would be levied on them.

Under the law, defaulters will face an imposition of a 300 per cent penalty of the duties and taxes involved.