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GRA descends on night businesses not issuing VAT invoices

The Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) seized documents and equipment from alleged tax defaulters for failing to issue Value Added Tax (VAT) invoices.

It has also handed over some of the culprits to the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) of the Ghana Police Service for an investigation into non-compliance with the country’s tax law.

The Authority embarked on two mystery visits; one in the afternoon and another in the evening of last Friday.

The operations are part of an ongoing nationwide VAT Invigilation exercise by the GRA to retrieve some taxes due the State.

In the afternoon, the taskforce visited three Auto mechanic shops, around the Adenta and Madina enclave and noted that all three shops had registered with the Authority but were not issuing the VAT invoices.

The GRA officials, therefore, collected some documents and system units of these three businesses, since they contain information relating to the business to allow for a thorough search on their operations.

The documents collected will be assessed to know the services they rendered and the amount they were to pay back to State.

All businesses were supposed to register with the Authority to charge VAT on the services they render to their customers and equally give same to the Authority.

The accumulated equipment have been sent to the Authority’s Office for assessment, while business owners had been invited to assist retrieve the information needed.

Electronic-VAT (e-VAT), which on October 1, 2022 is expected to help GRA regulate and check businesses across the country.

In line with the exercise, the enforcement team on Friday evening visited Alley Bar and Pub located in Osu.

The facility was found wanting for not issuing the Commissioner-General’s invoice as required by law.

The manager was handed to the Crime Investigation Department (CID) Unit of the Ghana Police Service for an investigation into non-compliance with the country’s tax law.

The Area Enforcement Manager of GRA in charge of Accra Central, Joseph Annan, told the media that management of the Bar had violated regulations of the Value Added Tax (VAT).

He noted that even though the Domestic Tax Division of the GRA closes at 5pm, it will henceforth close when the tax payer closes because of the ongoing exercise until the needful is done.

He advised tax payers to issue their tax invoice once they are registered or an appropriate invoice that has been authorised by the commissioner General.

“For those who have not registered at all, please register because the penalty for non-registration is much more than what you suffer when you are registered but have not issued the invoice” he stated.

He also said once they were  registered to charge VAT then they  were mandated by Section 41 of the VAT Act, authorizing them to issue the VAT invoice or an appropriate invoice sanctioned by the Commissioner-General.

He added that it was an offence not to issue the VAT invoice and the law would take its own course.

“Once you are registered to charge VAT, section 41 of the VAT act mandates you to issue the VAT invoice or an appropriate invoice sanctioned by the Commissioner General.

“Once you haven’t done that you have committed an offense,” Annan stressed.

He mentioned that the Authority in their auditing process will conduct a pre-emptive assessment, which meant that they will have to pay immediately, but then they would recommend a full audit to be conducted.

Mr. Annan said even though they would audit their books, the legal aspect would be handled by the CID, where they would prepare their docket for possible prosecution.

He said failure to appear at the Office will guarantee a physical arrest because they had taken inventory of what they were accumulating to their Office.

Mr Annan said the test purchase exercise would continue until some sanity was brought into the system.

The GRA urged business owners to register with the Authority and issue VAT invoices to avoid prosecution.

The Area Enforcement Manger said the exercise would be taken both in the morning and evening and that they had a tall list of businesses, which are not paying their taxes.


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