Many Ghanaians do not know the difference between the rates and levies paid to the District Assemblies and that of the Central Government through the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA).
Thus, tax payers are always reluctant to pay the required taxes to the GRA after they have paid their district assembly rates and levies.
These were concerns raised at a tax compliance education programme mounted by the National Commission for Civic Education (NCCE) and the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) for workers of the informal sector at Abakrampa in the Abura Asebu Kwamankese (AAK) District of the Central Region.
Majority of the participants made up of Hairdressers, Beauticians, market women, dressmakers and tailors and drivers among others strongly protested when officials of the GRA cautioned them for non-payment of income taxes.
Insisting that they have been paying the taxes correctly, some of them went home for their receipts as evidence only to be told that they were payments of rates and levies to the district assembly and not to the GRA.
The Ghana News Agency was told the story was not different in most of the communities where the tax compliance campaign had been held and the officials stressed the need for more education and sensitisation on the issue to help avert the situation.
Mr Walter Tuffour, a Senior Revenue Officer at the Small and Medium Taxpayers Office in Cape Coast said any tax collection in Ghana was backed by law and it was mandatory for every citizen to pay tax on any activity that earned him or her an income.
He explained the various types of taxes and encouraged the people to voluntarily walk to the office of the GRA to pay their taxes and not wait for them to be chased.
Mr Tuffour said the lack of personnel at Cape Coast office was impeding the GRA from effective monitoring but was optimistic that, the revenue module of the National Builders Corp, would go a long way to help the GRA mobilise enough revenue for the country.
Mrs Ellen Osei, NCCE Director for AAK noted that though taxes were critical to the development of every nation, citizens considered it unfriendly and reminded the public that it was their civic duty and a constitutional requirement to pay taxes honestly and regularly to the GRA.
She said Government had no other sources of revenue for development purposes, such as the provision of basic social amenities, including electricity, health facilities, schools, roads and potable water except taxes.
Mrs Osei therefore admonished Ghanaians to show patriotism by paying their taxes saying, the developed countries, developed because its citizens paid their taxes well.
The participants appealed to the GRA to restructure its tax collection system to make payment of tax easy for those in the informal sector.
Other officials of the GRA and the NCCE took turns to sensitise the people about the need to pay taxes to the assembly and the central government for development projects.
Source: GNA | Ghana