The Ghana Revenue Authority, GRA, will begin prosecution of tax offenders this year as part of the broader strategy to engender tax compliance and maximize revenue collection.
GRA launched its prosecution Policy in 2019. The Authority went ahead to table request before the Chief Justice to set up a dedicated court to expeditiously prosecute tax offenders.
Speaking at the opening ceremony of the 2021 management retreat of GRA in the Koforidua, the Eastern Regional Capital Thursday, April 22, 2021, the Commissioner General of GRA Mr. Ammishaddai Owusu-Amoah said, ”this year, we will embark on an intensive debt collection drive and also we will prosecute tax defaulters. The Authority is working on beefing up the capacity in the area of prosecution.
“We have also engaged the Judicial Service and plans are at an advanced stage for the establishment of a Tax Court to deal with the prosecution of tax cases. I have heard people question whether it’s is relevant to prosecute or not to prosecute and that you can only go ahead and educate but my belief is that education must go ahead but it must be combined with the Prosecution,” he said.
Nonetheless, the Commissioner-General said, the Authority will intensify tax education exercises to help inform taxpayers on their rights and obligations, processes, and procedures, among others, all aimed at ensuring voluntary tax compliance.
Commissioner General of GRA Mr. Ammishaddai Owusu -Amoah explained that GRA was initially budgeted to collect total tax revenue of GH₵47,253.95 million for the 2020 fiscal year. This represented a 7.6% growth over the actual tax revenue collection of GH₵43,907.12 million for the 2019 fiscal year.
However, as a result of the impact of the COVID-19 global pandemic, the budget was revised downward to GH₵42,769.50 million which is a 2.6% negative growth over the actual revenue collections of GH₵43,907.12 million in 2019.
He said, as of December 2020, GRA had collected GH₵45,338.69 billion exceeding the budget by GH₵ 2,569.19 billion with a positive deviation of 6.0%.
“This performance represents a nominal growth rate of 3.3% over the performance in 2019. In 2020, domestic revenue grew by a nominal rate of 2.8% while Customs collection grew by 4.5%. This is no mean achievement considering that we are not in “normal times”. He said.