Private legal practitioner, Professor Kwaku Asare, has petitioned President Akufo-Addo and the Attorney General, Godfred Yeboah Dame, to arrest and prosecute lawyers found culpable of evading taxes.
According to him, the President and the Attorney General must refrain from issuing warnings and advice to lawyers and rather ensure they face the law.
Professor Asare in a Facebook post noted that “if lawyers, or other professionals, are not paying taxes, arrest and prosecute them”.
“Appealing to or warning them will not make any difference. Writing a new tax law will not make any difference. We make simple things too complicated”.Professor Kwaku Asare
President Akufo-Addo speaking on the theme “Ensuring an Increase in Revenue Mobilization through Taxation for the Purpose of Accelerated National Development”, on Monday, 13th September 2021, criticized lawyers for tax evasion.
In his keynote address at the 2021 Bar Conference of the Ghana Bar Association, President Akufo-Addo urged the outgoing President of the Bar, Anthony Forson Jnr, to ensure members of the Bar pay their taxes.
Attorney General urges lawyers to pay taxes
Also speaking at the Bar conference, the Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Godfred Yeboah Dame, also made a passionate appeal to lawyers to pay their taxes.
Mr Dame was of the view that most of the taxes paid by some lawyers do not commensurate to their luxurious lifestyles or the revenue they generate.
“It is sad to say that many lawyers are caught in the phenomenon of tax evasion, as they unjustifiably avoid being caught in the tax net, either by understating their profits or concealing their true incomes. The luxurious lifestyles of certain lawyers, riding in the plushest of vehicles and acquiring top-end properties, are hardly commensurate with the amount of taxes they pay”.Godfred Yeboah Dame
Additionally, the Attorney General explained that the ethical training of lawyers places them in a position to play a fundamental role in the proper functioning of the Ghanaian tax system. As such, a lawyer must therefore “have sufficient knowledge of tax laws and statutory regulations”.
Similarly, he urged them to be “abreast of the amendments to the various laws, so as to effectively advise clients”.
6,000 Ghanaian lawyers and doctors are not paying taxes
In August this year, Finance Minister Ken Ofori Atta revealed that over six thousand Ghanaian lawyers and doctors are not paying taxes. He explained that per an exercise conducted by the Ghana Revenue Authority it revealed that some 60,000 business persons have been evading taxes.
“…We went through the exercise to see what we’ve got, and we got about 60,000 businesspeople who were not paying taxes… some 5,000 or 6,000 lawyers are not. Some doctors [are not paying income tax].
“So, you begin to see all of these professionals, all of us on social media ranting against the government and [realise] that most of these people are not even paying taxes”.Ken Ofori Atta
The finance minister further chided Ghanaians for not complying to pay taxes which goes a long way to help in the execution of projects in the country.
Mr Ofori-Atta noted that the current revenue target of the GRA, however, brings optimism that government will be able to carry out projects to develop the country.
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