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General News Thu, 28 Feb 2002

Tax Relief for Workers

Workers have begun enjoying tax reliefs in respect of child education and marriage benefits. Under the tax system introduced by the government, income earners who have spouses, and dependants in school are paid reliefs without the drudgery of completing a tax assessment form.

The reliefs have reflected in the monthly take-home pay of workers who submitted their application forms very early. The new policy requires that reliefs are computed on ?300,000 per spouse and ?240,000 per child covering maximum of three children per an employee.

The Commissioner of the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), Mrs Janet Opoku-Ackyeampong, announced this when she addressed the opening ceremony of a seminar for management staff of the service drawn from the Central, Western, Greater Accra, Volta and the Eastern regions at Ho on Wednesday.

The three-day seminar, under the theme, “Creating Healthy Relations with Taxpayers to Enhance Revenue Mobilisation,” is aimed at reviewing performance for last year and mapping out strategies for the realization of the revenue target set for this year.

Mrs Opoku-Agyemang disclosed that the service has projected to collect ?2.772 trillion this year, with a component of ?185 billion as National Reconstruction Levy, adding that “the target for the year is an increment of 33 per cent of the actual collection of ?2.1237 trillion collected last year.”

She announced that the Ministry of Finance has approved a three per cent retention from total revenue collected to cover the cost of collection, stating, however, that “salary negotiation will no longer pass through the Central Management Board.” “What we should bear in mind is that the harder we work by collecting more tax revenues, the brighter our chances of enjoying good salaries and other conditions of service,” she stressed.

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In an address, the Chairman of Revenue Agencies Governing Board (RAGB), Mr Yaw Manu Sarpong, announced that 30 computers have been procured for the computerization of the service, with all district offices in Accra and the research department benefiting under the first phase of the programme.

He said the new facility will help update the taxpayer register and make it possible for the service to know, at any given time, the true and correct tax position of each tax payer and the necessary follow-up actions to be pursued in order to forestall further loss in tax revenue.

In a keynote address to open the seminar, the Volta Regional Minister, Mr Kwasi Owusu Yeboah, underscored the crucial role of revenue collection agencies towards the realization of the developmental objectives of the government. He, therefore, charged the IRS to generate vital information on the taxpayer so as to build and enhance individual taxpayer partnership, adding that, “taxpayer fulfillment and support must be constantly examined and monitored to ensure absolute satisfaction on the part of the partner.”

Mr Owusu-Yeboah advised tax collectors to handle information on taxpayers with confidentiality, since any information unwittingly divulged for purposes other than taxation is the quickest way to destroy a relationship because the taxpayer’s trust would have been broken. He also called on tax officials to demonstrate integrity and even-handedness in the execution of their function, adding “in this way, voluntary tax mobilisation is enhanced through an efficient and equitable administration of taxes.”

The Principal of Ho Polytechnic, Dr George Afeti, who chaired the opening ceremony, lauded the initiative of the IRS in pursuing a friendly approach in tax collection, stating that it is clear from the theme that the service is moving away from the coercive strategies of tax collection to a more participatory approach to revenue mobilisation.

Source: Daily Graphic
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