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GRA grabs 4 shops not issuing VAT receipts

The Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) has called on the public to demand Value Added Tax (VAT) invoice from shop owners when they buy goods.

The GRA expects that all suppliers of taxable items, goods or services, issue VAT invoice as required by law and in the same vein, the customer is required by law to obtain invoice if such transactions attract VAT.

GRA Area Enforcement Manager in charge of Accra Central Mr Joseph Annan said it is an infringement on the tax laws, if businesses failed to issue the VAT, when they were registered with the Authority.

He made the call during the ongoing tax invigilation exercise being conducted at the Authority in Accra.

The team visited four businesses which investigations revealed have been defaulting in their tax-collection obligations.

The task force confiscated invoice books from three of the four defaulting shops, and took away a laptop from the fourth.

At Chang Wei Company Limited, a dealer in children’s toys, at Makola Zongo Lane, the task force took away receipt and sales books.

The task force also took away invoice books when they got to Selena Bags Shop, a dealer in bags and accessories, also at Makola.

The Chinese shop manager, upon seeing the officials, claimed she could not speak English.

She subsequently went into a disagreement with Mr Annan and his task force about having her shop shut up, and going to the GRA office with the team.

She was eventually escorted by members of the task force to the GRA’s office.

The team then went to Abossey Okai, where the battery and engine oil shop, Zebrex Motors Limited, also run by foreign nationals was found not issuing VAT receipts for goods sold.

The GRA task force took away a laptop on which their sales records were being processed and stored.

They then proceeded to Abeka, where officials of the GRA took custody of invoice books of Black Park, a dealer in kitchen ware, for not collecting VAT on items sold.

Mr Annan, explained to the media that the cases of the defaulting shops will be handed over to the Criminal Investigations Department (CID) of the Ghana Police Service for investigation, after which they will be handed back to the GRA for prosecution in court.

He further stated that “we are going to preemptively assess them, and then get them to pay and after that, we are going to commence full audits on these companies, because once VAT is being under-declared, the other taxes will suffer same.”

He promised that the exercise will continue until sanity prevails.

Mr Annan also gave details of the status of seven cases which the GRA began, following earlier clamp down exercises in the last couple of weeks, noting that, the GRA has analysed some documents, with cases on two defaulting shops ready.

He also warned shop operators that the GRA would eventually catch up with them if they insist on not issuing VAT receipts to the public.

He said the exercise or operations are part of an ongoing nationwide VAT Invigilation exercise by the authority to retrieve some taxes due the State.

Mr Annan said the GRA as part of the nationwide invigilation would continue to embark on mystery shopping exercises across the country to apprehend culprits evading tax.

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