HomeNewsTax payment should be a religious duty- GRA boss.

Tax payment should be a religious duty- GRA boss.

The public and the business sector have been urged to make paying taxes a religious obligation by Reverend Dr. Ammisshadai Owusu-Amoah, the Commissioner-General of the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA).
According to him, paying taxes on time is crucial in order for the public to hold the government responsible for its actions. This is something the Bible commands.

The counsel was provided by Rev. Owusu-Amoah in a speech that was read on his behalf at a GIZ Validation Workshop in Accra with the National Steering Committee on the Inter-Faith Platform on Accountability by Assistant Commissioner at the Office of the Commissioner-General, Dominic Naab.

“The GRA has the responsibility of administering and collecting domestic taxes to pay for budgetary expenses. Is everyone paying taxes? That is the question we should all be asking. Should we disclose our income sources and declare any taxes owed? By helping the government do its job, are we performing our civic duties? he questioned.

The value of taxes

He pointed out that since taxes were unquestionably the foundation of every civilization, it was a legal requirement for citizens to pay taxes as part of their civic duty.

According to him, these taxes significantly contributed to the government’s development agenda by funding ongoing expenses like the personal emoluments of public and civil sector employees, capital expenditures like roads, social intervention projects like the Free Senior High School Program, and statutory payments to organizations like GETFund.

However, he noted that just 20% of eligible taxpayers paid income tax, and research results have linked this to Ghanaians’ poor understanding of tax laws.

He claimed that the GRA was unable to educate every citizen about taxes, and he saw the need of seizing the chance to use religious figures and their platforms to spread the word.

Study

The GIZ-Governance for Inclusive Development Program (GovID) helps the government improve public financial management, domestic tax collection, and accountability.

In order to improve the efficiency of revenue administration, tax policies were created in collaboration with the Ministry of Finance and updated ones with the GRA.

A baseline study was carried out by GovID-GIZ to try to understand how religious and traditional leaders could be included to support the mobilization of domestic revenues in Ghana. This was done in recognition of the potential that a cooperation with faith-based organizations (FBOs) could help to reach out to potential taxpayers.

Raphael Frerking, the programme manager for GovID-GIZ Ghana, claimed that the baseline study made a very clear case for the involvement of religious players.

When emphasizing the connections between tax payments, accountability, and good governance, he remarked, “We found that the trust that residents place in them makes them interesting stakeholders to enhance tax compliance.”

He continued by saying that important milestones had been reached in a short amount of time, including the creation of a National Steering Committee and the launch of interfaith conversation platforms in three pilot regions: Accra, Kumasi, and Tamale.

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