Commissioner General of the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA), Rev. Ammishaddai Owusu-Amoah has disclosed that the Authority has set up a new department to ensure rich individuals pay their taxes.
According to him, the net worth department, which is a special unit will track down Ghana’s richest individuals. The motive is to assess their wealth and subsequently prod them to pay taxes.
He further revealed that the Authority is currently working on some data analytics to enable them validate tax payment by these individuals. This will also help ascertain and verify whether the wealthy taxpayers are paying their corresponding taxes.
“GRA has set up a completely different department called the high-net-worth individuals department. Previously, high net worth was only a part of another unit. It was not a focus of attention and based upon this data as well as data that we are picking from the professional association. So, we are also doing that data matching so we’re getting the list of all net worth individuals, it cuts across everything”.
Recounting an incident where the data analysis was put to test, Rev Owusu-Amoah, averred that thorough investigation and due diligence must be undertaken.
“In fact, I remember one instance we had to call one pastor and he said why are you calling me to pay high net worth and I said we’ve done analysis on you and when we got chatting, he came to my office and said I only sit on two boards and I said oh no you sit on five boards. He said how do you know?
“So, I started listing and he said oh that one I don’t get anything, this one I don’t get anything. Eventually, he admitted that he sits on five boards and not two boards. Once you do that the compliance comes in”.
GRA in high expectation of mobilizing high revenue
Commenting on the perks of the data analysis, Rev. Owusu-Amoah intimated that the Authority is well on its way to achieving high return in revenue.
He further intimated that the Authority has “done the assimilations and we have done the various variables that we have put into our own system. As such, the Authority has “an idea of what we will bring”.
“After we have done all the validations and done with the sector ministry; at the right time we will let the public know our expectations. GRA is also putting together strategies to ensure that revenue will also come in.”
GRA prepares to automate tax collection
Meanwhile, Rev. Owusu-Amoah has revealed that from May 1, all the categories of taxes can be paid remotely.
According to him, the move is part of efforts to improve collections and remove all the challenges and human element that sometimes impede payments.
Rev. Owusu-Amoah explained that “for the first time in history, taxes will be paid by not by walking to any of our offices in town.”
Additionally, he indicated that this will make it easier for business to meet their tax obligations.
“You can also do it through all the banks on the Ghana.gov platforms.
“We are even working to remove all tellers from offices in line with the full automation from next year”.