The Ministry of Finance and the Commissioner General of the Ghana Revenue Authority, working with the Economic Management Team, have initiated work on a mobile application for the filing of taxes, Vice-President Mahamudu Bawumia has revealed.
This is part of measures being made to make tax compliance and enforcement easier, and increase the contribution of domestic revenue to the nation’s GDP.
“I am happy to announce that the mobile application for the simplified filing of taxes should be ready by end of October this year. The idea is to have a mobile app where an individual or enterprise will have to input just a few pieces of information and tax due will be automatically calculated for you and you can pay on your phone and receive a receipt immediately,” he said.
Dr Bawumia made the disclosure in Accra on Wednesday, August 25, 2021 at the launch of the Revenue Assurance and Compliance Enforcement (RACE) Initiative, designed to increase domestic revenue mobilization in order to address the economic challenges arising from the Covid 19 pandemic and make Ghana more fiscally independent.
A recent study by the World Bank (November 2020) has shed more light on the startling gap between what is due the public purse and what is actually collected, with the total corporate tax gap equivalent to between 9.4 percent and 12.6 percent of GDP (approximately between Gh¢35.7billion – Gh¢47.88billion); VAT compliance gap of 39.3 percent of total VAT revenue; Import duty tax gap of 32.5 percent of tax revenue; and potential tax revenues from sole proprietors, who usually operate in the informal sector, amounting to 12.6 percent of GDP.
“We need to remind ourselves that Government’s ability to extend much-needed support to Ghanaians during this pandemic owes a lot to the prudent management of the economy in the three years leading to the pandemic. And government’s ability to continue with some of the social interventions and much needed support to the private sector depends on our ability to accelerate our domestic revenue mobilization.
“The unfortunate reality is that our progress in domestic revenue mobilization could be better than what we have now. The reasons: the commitment to paying taxes is low. Some tax laws are complex and do not encourage compliance. There is also a school of thought that those who must enforce compliance are not without blame. Our challenges are in enforcement and compliance,” he said.
Government, he stressed, will continue to take proactive measures to broaden the tax base and make it easier for individuals and businesses to fulfil their obligations without major stress.
He added, “We have addressed the issue of the narrow tax base by making the Ghanacard number the TIN. This has increased the percentage of the adult population with a TIN from 4% in 2016 to 86% today. The question that we have is how to convert this 86% into actual tax payers.
“A simplified flat tax payment system will provide the basis of data building at the ground level as the first step to formalizing the large segment of the informal economy. It will surely increase compliance and reduce the perception of heavy handedness in enforcement.