Mr Anthony Dekagbe, the Head Ho Small Tax Office (STO) of the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA), has said refusal by entities to honour their tax obligations is a threat to national security and must be considered a criminal act.
He said the key national services, including security, would not function effectively in the absence of tax revenue, which were also the lifeline to developmental projects.
Mr Dekagbe said this at a tax forum on Voluntary Compliance in Ho, which brought together sections of the tax paying public and officers of the GRA.
“You are a threat to national security if you don’t pay your taxes. There will be no protection because our security services would not be paid. Key developmental projects would also suffer,” he said.
Despite tremendous efforts by the GRA in tracking down tax evaders, he said the goods sector still managed to dodge the tax net.
He said the Authority would continue to collaborate with security agencies in sealing the loopholes and enforcing tax compliance, and would need more public support in widening the tax net.
He asked businesses to consider GRA as an ally, and partner it to flush out counterfeiters of tax stamps and other processes, saying; “let’s encourage all to pay their taxes to help develop the nation.”
“Your business grows as you relate with us. We are partners in growing your business, so if you have any problem, talk to us.”
Mr Ernest Tsikata, the Second-in-command of the Ho Medium Tax Office of GRA, noted that the prosecution of delinquent tax payers would help increase Gross Domestic Product.
He said to create convenience for tax contributors, the GRA maintained a flexible system for filing returns, and added that a digital tax paying platform would be rolled out soon.
The forum, dubbed; “The Ghana Tax Dialogue on Tax Compliance and Responsibility,” was organised by OXFAM Ghana on the theme: “Addressing Policy Challenges and Regulatory Loopholes to Improve Tax Compliance in Ghana”.
Mr Lord Lucas Vodzi, the Coordinator of Tax Justice Coalition, called for proper communication of tax policies to make the public and business entities not to view tax officers as enemies.
“The GRA must have a more friendly approach. They must seek to build relationships with clients and businesses, and must engage them constantly for better understanding of the tax regime,” he said.