Vice President Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia has promised Ghanaians, particularly the business community, that the challenges, delays, and frustrations related to obtaining a Tax Clearance Certificate and filing tax returns will soon be a thing of the past.
This comes after the Ghana Revenue Authority finished developing online platforms to automate the acquisition of a Tax Clearance Certificate and the filing of taxes, thereby removing the numerous difficulties connected with the current manual procedure of issue.
Dr. Bawumia said in a speech to attendees at the 10th Annual International Tax Conference held in Accra by the Chartered Institute of Taxation, Ghana that the Ghana Revenue Authority had started the necessary work to improve the current Tax Certificate issuance regime, operating in accordance with the Revenue Administration Act.
“For the purpose of promoting tax compliance, the Commissioner-General has maintained a system of Tax Clearance Certificates (TCC) in accordance with Sections 10 & 11 of the Revenue Administration Act. This process of obtaining the clearance certificate has been done manually with the issuance of a handwritten certificates over the years. It has been characterized with delays in the issuance by GRA, challenges in verifying genuine TCCs by recipients, the use of Fake TCCs, alleged malpractices of some Tax Officials among others.
“It is from this background that I directed the leadership of the GRA to automate the process of obtaining Tax Clearance Certificates and I am glad to announce to you that this process has been completed and will go live by October,” the Vice President revealed.
Officials from the GRA noted that in order to use the new function that has been made accessible on the Platforms, users must sign into the taxpayer portal and submit an online application for the TCC in compliance with Section 14 of the Revenue Administration Act.
The technology runs a background check to make sure there are no unpaid tax bills and returns, and it then automatically delivers an electronic tax clearance certificate to approved applicants.
“The electronic copy Tax Clearance Certificate is also sent to the requestee- third Party who has demanded for the Certificate. Unsuccessful applicants are then served with reasons for their denial of the automatic eTCC.
“From the foregoing it is evident the issue of fake TCC will be a thing of the past, delays would be eliminated, and there would be enhanced transparency through the automatic verification and electronic issuance of the TCC to the Taxpayer and the requesting institution,” the Vice President stated.
A self-service portal called Ghana Taxpayers’ App has also been launched by the GRA’s Domestic Tax Revenue Division. It is accessible on www.taxpayersportal.com as well as the Google Play and Apple Play stores.
Using the portals enables the taxpayer to complete all tax forms, examine balances on their ledgers (tax status at any time), receive reminders about the deadlines for paying tax liabilities, and receive tax credits when they are subject to withholding tax.
Additionally, this would provide workers the option to check that the income taxes that were withheld and paid by their employers were accurate.
“As a taxpayer, you no longer need to join long queues in tax offices to pay taxes, simply pay on the Ghana.gov payment platform or any of the commercial banks of your choice. All you require to sign up is the Ghana card number as citizens or non-citizens or TIN for entities to comply with your tax obligations online,” Dr Bawumia justified.
The Authority will also have a USSD code that allows every Ghanaian to check on their tax compliance status by dialing *899*42#.“All Ghanaians and all entities are therefore encouraged to check their tax compliance status. If they are not compliant, they can immediately file their tax returns and settle any outstanding on their mobile phone.”
Accessing Public Services
“These automations of repetitive task are aimed at reducing the discretionary use of powers and its attendant alleged corruption by public officials while promoting voluntary compliance and a friendly taxpaying environment,” he emphasized.
“I must add that given that we have now made it very easy for anyone to file and pay their taxes, from next year many public services will require the presentation of tax clearance certificates before the services are rendered. This will enhance compliance and therefore domestic revenue mobilization,” the Vice President disclosed.