The Tamale Sector Commander of the Customs Division of the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA), Chief Collector Seth Dwira, has expressed worry over the smuggling of vehicles from Togo to Tamale which denied the country the needed revenue.
He has, therefore, advised prospective vehicle buyers in the Tamale metropolis to cross-check with Customs to know whether or not the appropriate duties on the cars they intended to purchase had been paid before buying them.
Mr Dwira, who expressed this concern at a press soiree in Tamale over the weekend, warned that the owners of such vehicles would be made to pay the duties and 300 per cent penalty on them or the cars would be seized when they were intercepted.
He, therefore, appealed to the media to assist his outfit by reporting on issue of smuggled goods and cars as it had become a canker in the region.
Mr Dwira announced that in spite of the increase in smuggling of cars into the region, his outfit was able to collect GH¢39 million as import duties in 2015, exceeding the target of GH¢25.7 million set for last year.
The Head of the Tamale Medium Taxpayers Office (MTO) of the GRA, Mr Roland Miah, said his outfit also collected GH¢33,707,508.12 revenue for the year 2015, exceeding the target of GH¢25, 772,482.49 and representing an increase of 30 per cent.
He attributed the increase in revenue mobilisation to various strategies adopted by the office which included frequent visits to taxpayers premises to ensure prompt payment of taxes, as well as vigorous pursuit and mopping up of tax arrears and tax education.
He said the Tamale MTO had set a target of GH¢42.50 million for 2016 and stated that they hoped to achieve the target through the same strategies adopted for 2015.
Mr Miah noted that in spite of the successes chalked up, his outfit was faced with a major challenge of low self-assessment of chargeable income by taxpayers, since the law allowed some of them to estimate their own chargeable income or profits and pay taxes based on these estimates for the year.
“As a result, some taxpayers even go as low as possible to declare zero profits. And those who are charitable enough assess themselves to about 50 per cent of the tax that they previously paid,” he stated.
Small taxpayer office
The Head of the Tamale Small Taxpayers Office (STO), Alhaji Haruna Sachibu, said his outfit was able to exceed its revenue target of GH¢16 million by collecting GH¢21 million which represented a nine per cent increase.
To achieve the target set for 2016, Alhaji Sachibu said the STO intended to widen the tax net by exploring, identifying and registering 104 new taxpayers, and added that the Taxpayer Services Unit had rolled out programmes in that regard.
He said later this year, the GRA would introduce electronic point of sale devices to help capture sales electronically to avoid under-declaration of sales by taxpayers.