Business News Thu, 18 Apr 2019
The Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) is to scrap the manual payment of Vehicle Income Tax (VIT) by commercial drivers, for which stickers are issued, and replace it with an electronic system.Under the new arrangement, commercial drivers can pay for their VIT through mobile money and enforcing officers, including the police, personnel of the GRA and the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Authority (DVLA), will verify the tax standing of commercial drivers through the short code *901*111#.
The system will be linked to the DVLA, and commercial drivers will have their VIT checked before they can renew their road worthy certificates.
Additionally, the GRA is considering the roll out of an electronic platform for the payment of personal income tax and tax stamp through mobile money.
At a sensitisation seminar for stakeholders in Accra last Tuesday, the Deputy Commissioner in charge of the Communications and Public Affairs Unit of the GRA, Mr Kwesi Bobie-Ansah, explained that the aim behind the introduction of the new system was to make the payment of tax easy and convenient for all taxpayers.
“Over the years, the GRA’s operations have been largely manual,” he said, citing tax payment processes such as filing of annual monthly returns, submission of self-assessment estimates and submission of declarations for purposes of import duty payments.
The sensitisation seminar was attended by stakeholders, including members and leaders of the various transport groups and trade organisations.
Since 2017, the GRA has been rolling out electronic service platforms, including the implementation of the paperless clearance of imported goods at the ports by the Customs Division of the GRA and Integrated Tax Application and Preparation System (iTaPS) that enable individuals to file their annual personal income returns electronically.
An official of the Data Management Team at the Domestic Tax Revenue Division of the GRA, Mr Patrick Frimpong Danso, demonstrated how the software is used.
He described it as a simple platform on which commercial transport drivers could register, using their vehicle registration numbers on any simple mobile phone.“
“We want to abolish the use of the hard sticker because most of them are fake. The electronic system will make it easy to verify. You can pay through your wallet or through a vendor using your vehicle registration number, and we are talking to the telecom operators to ensure such transactions do not attract charges,” he said.
The head of the Patrol and Traffic Enforcement Unit of the Accra Central Motor Traffic and Transport Department (MTTD), Assistant Superintendent of Police (ASP), Mr Richard Nyarko, suggested that the linking of the VIT to the DVLA should be reviewed as “some drivers because of the rickety nature of their vehicles do not take their vehicles to the DVLA office but use middle men and might end up evading tax.”
Speaking to the Daily Graphic, the President of the Ghana National Cargo Transport Association, Alhaji Mohammed Tango, said, “the (VIT) sticker is the best, it must not be changed.”
He said the VIT sticker reduced interactions between drivers and the police as “the police can see the hard copy of the sticker displayed on the vehicle and the expiry date would be visible for all to see.”
The Welfare Chairman of the GPRTU, Mr Olympio Peku, called for more consultations between transport operators and the GRA before the initiative was rolled out.