Dr Archibald Yao Letsa, the Volta Regional Minister, said taxation remained the main effective tool that countries relied on to mobilise revenue for national development.
He said as Ghana embarked on development agenda, it was therefore imperative that rigorous and decisive steps were taken to raise enough taxes to finance development projects such as hospitals, markets, school buildings and good roads.
Dr Letsa was speaking at the second launch of Tax and Good Governance Week and Tax Clinic of the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA), in collaboration with the Tax Policy Unit of the Ministry of Finance on theme; “ File your Tax Returns, Pay your Taxes, move Ghana Beyond Aid” in Ho.
The Minister said filing tax returns was a civic responsibility thus the need for all to get onboard to “meet development aspirations”.
He said the Income Tax Act, 2015, (ACT 896) and the Revenue Administration Act, 2016, (ACT 915) mandated every eligible person to file an income tax with the Commissioner-General not later than four months after the end of each year of assessment, thus, filing tax returns was not only a civic responsibility but also a requirement of the law.
Mr. Kwame Owusu Bamfo, Head of Medium Tax Payer office at the Authority, said the essence of the programme was to draw the attention of the public to the importance of filing tax returns and the benefits the country stood to gain from the returns.
He said the citizenry would be more empowered to demand fair share of the national cake only when they contributed effectively to paying taxes and filing of tax returns.
Mr. Bamfo said under the duties of a citizen as enshrined in Article 41(j) of the 1992 Constitution, every citizen was to “declare his income honestly to the appropriate and lawful agencies to satisfy all tax obligations” hence filing of annual tax returns and payments were statutory and constitutional requirements “not a matter of choice”.
He said the GRA had developed an application system called Integrated Tax Application and Preparation System (iTaPS), which enabled taxpayers to conveniently file their income tax returns from the comfort of their homes.
Mr. Bamfo said the iTaPS had nine modules, which included; Annual Tax Returns, Tax Clearance Certificate, Withholding Tax Credit Certificate, VAT Withholding Tax Credit Certificate, Withholding Tax Exemption, Monthly and Annual PAYE Returns, Personal Tax Reliefs, Decision Support System for Self- Assessment Estimate and Business Records Manager were being rolled out in phases.
He said as part of the Authority’s quest to digitize its process and leverage technology to improve tax administration, it would soon launch an electronic payment platform to enable operators in the informal sector such as the commercial transport operators and small scale self-employed persons on the tax stamp to pay their quarterly taxes through mobile money in collaboration with the banks.
Mr. Bamfo said the Authority would soon start prosecuting people who failed to file their annual tax returns on schedule and called for cooperation from all.