Business News of 2014-06-20

GRA introduces transparent system at ports

The Customs Division of the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) has instituted transparent clearing systems at the country’s seaports to ensure the smooth clearance of consignments.

This is part of reforms of Customs procedures at the ports to ensure the efficient mobilisation of revenue.

The Chief Revenue Officer of the Customs Division, Mr Robert N. Mensah, tood participants in educational seminar for taxpayers within the Kinbu Small Taxpayers Office catchment area in Accra that “many countries have shifted from the traditional methods of escort to documentary, electronic and accounts-based systems to facilitate trade and the efficient mobilisation of revenue.”

He added that importers who took advantage of the warehousing opportunity also enjoyed some benefits such as the deferring of duties.

Mr Mensah said the capital of traders who used warehouses would also not be locked up in tax payments, while the warehousing systems could foster export trade.

However, he pointed out that some goods were exempted from being warehoused, which included perishable items, arms, fireworks, clay and sand.

Speaking on the Value Added Tax (VAT), an official of the Small Taxpayers Office, Mr Kwesi Ackaah, reiterated that there were a number of misconceptions about the 17.5 per cent tax charges that banks were supposed to be charging for the services they rendered.

He explained that financial institutions were to charge the rates on commission and fee-based services, and urged taxpayers to talk to their tax administrators whenever they needed clarifications.

Mr Ackaah said banks which recorded an aggregate of GH¢120,000 tax payments a month or GH¢30,000 annually were the only financial institutions supposed to register to charge the tax.

“The banks sending text messages to their customers are those who have realised they qualify to charge the tax.”