The Ghana Revenue Authority, in 2017, introduced a tax amnesty programme aimed improving the tax compliance culture while broadening the tax net, helping regularize the tax affairs of persons who have defaulted in meeting their tax obligations, and in the process, updating the GRA data base.
This is a limited-time opportunity for tax defaulters who fall within any of their Four Basic Tax Obligations, namely; Registration with GRA, filing of tax returns by due dates, paying taxes on due dates, and making full disclosure (complete and accurate) of Financial Reporting, to be able to voluntarily do so in exchange for a pardon.
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Applications for amnesty must be submitted to the GRA on or before 31st August, 2018, as the limited time period it will run ends on 30th September, 2018.
You qualify if you:
- Haven’t submitted all returns or amended returns, containing a full disclosure of all previously undisclosed liabilities up to 2017 year of assessment although you are registered with the Ghana Revenue Authority.Have paid up all assessed and outstanding taxes.
- Are a previously unregistered person who registers with the Ghana Revenue Authority before 30th September,2018 and files income tax return for 2014,2015,2016 years of Assessment.
In order to benefit from the tax amnesty, one should be:
(a) A person who has registered with the Ghana Revenue Authority previously but has not submitted all previous returns or made full disclosure of all liabilities in previous years of assessment is required to;
- submit all outstanding returns or amended returns (Copy Attached-Appendix 1, What constitutes a tax return?) with full details of all undisclosed liabilities within the “qualifying period”; and
- pay all taxes assessed and any taxes due or outstanding under the provisions of the various tax laws.It must be noted that such persons will have no penalties or interest imposed on them for the failure to file the tax returns or make full disclosure of liabilities, once the requirements indicated above are met.(b) A person who is liable to pay tax on incomes earned for the 2014, 2015 and 2016 years of assessment but who has not registered with the Ghana Revenue Authority is required to;
- Register with the Ghana Revenue Authority on or before 30TH September 2018
- Submit all outstanding tax returns with full disclosure of previously undisclosed incomes was earned within the 2014, 2015 and 2016 years of Assessment
Also, such persons who have met the above requirements will not be made to pay the taxes, the penalties and interest that will otherwise be due under the provisions of the laws.
Who doesn’t qualify for amnesty?
The tax amnesty does not apply in respect of a tax if the person who should have filed tax return(s) and/or paid the tax(s) in the qualifying period but;
(i) has been notified by or on behalf of the Commissioner-General or by of an assessment or additional assessment in respect of the tax or any matter relating to the tax;
(ii) is under audit or investigation by or on behalf of the Commissioner- General in respect of an undisclosed income or a matter relating to that undisclosed income unless the person makes full disclosure and declares and pays the accrued liabilities before the conclusion of the audit or investigation;
(iii) has been notified by or on behalf of the Commissioner-General of an enforcement action relating to failure to submit returns or pay any tax assessed or due; or unless that person submits the returns or make immediate payments of any taxes assessed or due.
(iv) has failed to comply with the provisions of any of the tax laws administered by the Commissioner General relating to submission of returns or the payment of taxes that would be due from 1st January ,2018
How to apply for the tax amnesty:
A person who qualifies for tax amnesty is required to submit an application for amnesty to the Commissioner-General on a Tax Amnesty Application form (Copy attached-Appendix 2) which can be obtained from any office of the GRA in the country, or downloaded from here.
The application form must be properly completed and submitted:
- at any time during the period commencing from 1st January 2018 and ending on 31ST August 2018 together with disclosure forms (Copy attached –Appendix 3a&3b) ;
- the returns of income for the relevant years of assessment as indicated in item 4.0 above with a statement of all assets (at cost) and liabilities as at the end of the 2017 year of assessment where applicable; and
iii. in the case of a person registered with the Ghana Revenue Authority, returns or amended returns ,containing a full disclosure of all previously undisclosed liabilities up to the 2017 year of assessment ,with full payment of all taxes assessed or due.
Where an applicant is unable to provide the full particulars of actual amounts on the application form or in any return or statement relating to the application, the applicant may provide a reasonable estimate of those amounts. Where an estimate is made under such circumstances it must be clearly indicated on the remarks column in Disclosure Form.
An applicant who is not previously registered with the GRA will be required to complete and submit a Registration Forms in addition to the Application form, Disclosure forms and the returns
Processing of applications
The Commissioner-General shall within thirty days after receipt of an application notify the applicant of the decision to grant or refuse the application. Where there is a refusal of an application the Commissioner-General shall specify the reasons for the refusal.
An applicant who is dissatisfied with a decision of the Commissioner-General to refuse that applicant the tax amnesty may, within thirty days of receipt of the decision, lodge a written complaint with the Commissioner-General for a review of the decision.
The Commissioner-General shall make a determination within thirty days of receipt of the complaint and notify the applicant accordingly.
The Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) is a semi-autonomous public institution established by law as a corporate body in December 2009, when the three tax revenue agencies, the Customs, Excise and Preventive Service (CEPS), the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), the Value Added Tax Service (VATS) and the Revenue Agencies Governing Board (RAGB) Secretariat were merged in accordance with the Ghana Revenue Authority Act 2009, Act 791.
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