GRA, Traders Hold Tax Talk

Officials at the Ashtown Small Tax Office of the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) are resorting to dialogue to get traders at the Kumasi Central Market file their tax returns.

This comes after cloth sellers kicked against what they described as astronomical taxes presented to them by the tax officers.

Traders who previously paid GHc500 are now taxed GHc1,300 under the 2017 tax assessment figures.

Ashanti regional Minister, Simon Osei Mensah on Tuesday, 25 July 2017 ordered the tax officers to unlock shops of the traders after he described the increment as abnormal and totally unacceptable.

However, speaking in an interview with Class91.3FM’s regional correspondent Hafiz Tijani, Manager at the Ashanti New Town Small Tax Office of the GRA, Kenneth Adjei-Fah said his office will engage the traders to resolve the issue.

“Upon the instruction of the Regional Minister and our superiors in Accra, we have decided to go the dialogue way. We will have to go and look for the leadership of the market people and engage them, educate them and explain things to them; that it is for the good of the state. That is why we are collecting taxes,” he stated.

Mr Adjei-Fah also expressed concerns over the attitude of traders towards paying taxes voluntarily and said some do not even understand what it means to pay tax. “Some woman comes here and says that when we collect the taxes we keep it for them so that when they retire, we give it to them. So people don’t even understand the issues so we have to go and look for them, educate them and dialogue with them.”

“However, most of the market women do not voluntarily come forward to pay their taxes. You’ll serve them the assessment, they will not come over. We send people to the market, shop to shop for daily collection but what they will collect is nothing to write home about. And, so, they have made the system such that we are compelled to use this means to collect the money.

“Last week when they (GRA agents) went to the market, they got GHc7000 from the daily collection. Meanwhile, this month our target is GHc1,089,000 . . . so that every evening we went to lock some of the shops but surprisingly the following day Wednesday, we collected GHc57, 7071. Because they wouldn’t want to voluntarily come out to pay we are forced to use this means to force them to pay.”