Tax experts urge Government to review tax exemption regime

The government has been urged to review the tax exemptions regime and pass the Exemptions Bill with the necessary modifications into law.

It must also block loopholes in domestic revenue mobilisation, such as illicit financial flows in the natural resources sector.

In its presentation on REVENUE MOBILISATION MEASURES IN THE 2021 BUDGET STATEMENT, ALI-NAKYEA & ASSOCIATES, noted that the key step in widening the tax net was dealing with the tax exemptions regime as that could open up the tax base.

“In our economy, capturing of taxpayers does not automatically widen the tax net as most are merely non-compliant taxpayers that the enforcement mechanism has to necessarily catch up with. The key step in widening our tax net is dealing with the tax exemptions regime as that can open up the tax base hence widening the tax net,” it said in its analysis of the revenue measures.

In the medium-term, Government said it would pursue revenue enhancing measures with a focus on deepening the digitalisation agenda both on transactions on goods and services as well as on tax collection machinery as part of measures to broaden the tax base and rope in a lot more eligible taxpayers.

It will also rationalise expenditures through the implementation of tighter expenditure control systems with a more efficient procurement system to ensure value for money and pursue structural reforms in public finance management system to improve efficiency in public service delivery.

Ali-Nakyea and Associates said expenditure rationalisation was necessary considering the challenges of the procurement system, adding that the value for money approach was in order.

It lauded the deepening of the digitalization agenda; but said this should come side by side with the taxation of the digital economy.

It urged tax administrators to focus attention on the extractive sector and to ensure a collaboration amongst the Ghana Revenue Authority, Economic and Organised Crime Office and the Financial Intelligence Centre in dealing with the challenge not only with taxes due but also illicit financial flows.

Touching on the gaming policy, the Associates said it was long overdue and when immediately rolled out would help to raise more domestic revenue.

This is another area the nation’s digitalisation agenda should cover to ensure tracking and tracing of online betting, among others, it said, adding that the GRA Unit handling the taxing the digital economy needed to be involved in the policy planning, design, and implementation.

“To increase tax revenue, it is submitted that Government improve taxpayer education, which will improve voluntary tax compliance and implement a voluntary disclosure programme”.

Government must also implement the Electronic Point of Sale (EPOs) devices to verify sales data and VAT collections and consider granting of tax credits or relief for expenditure on public infrastructure projects approved by the government.

It must continue to leverage on technology to enable taxpayers file all tax returns electronically and also make tax payments using electronic means and re-examine the tax appeal processes and the requirement of payment of deposit before an objection to a tax assessment was entertained.